After Omicron Cases, Karnataka Chief Minister Calls Urgent Meet: 10 Facts

Omicron: "I have instructed our Health Minister and the Chief Secretary to obtain the detailed report," Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai

Omicron: Karnataka has stepped up COVID-19 testing after the variant of concern was detected

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will hold a meeting today with his colleagues and health experts on how to deal with the Omicron threat. With two Omicron cases, Karnataka is the first state to find this coronavirus variant of concern.

Here's a 10-point cheatsheet on the Omicron threat:

  1. State Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar will meet with deans and medical superintendents of government medical colleges today to work out the way ahead. Several clusters of students testing positive have been reported from the state.

  2. Mr Bommai confirmed to reporters in Delhi that the centre has found Omicron infection in two samples after they were tested in the National Centre for Biological Sciences. A detailed report would come soon, the Chief Minister said.

  3. "I have instructed our Health Minister and the Chief Secretary to get the detailed report. An emergency meeting has been called with experts and senior officers," Mr Bommai said.

  4. The Chief Minister is also exploring the possibility of giving booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to health workers.

  5. One of the two patients is a 46-year-old fully vaccinated doctor from Bengaluru, who had no travel history and developed symptoms of fever and body ache on November 21.

  6. The other confirmed Omicron patient is a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative Covid report. The 66-year-old man arrived in the country on November 20 and left for Dubai on a flight seven days later, official records showed on Thursday.

  7. Mr Bommai, who met Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday, said, "The minister has said he would give details of the cases. According to preliminary reports, the effect of the variant is not too serious."

  8. Omicron has been designated a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organisation, or WHO. It is believed to have over 50 mutations, including over 30 on the spike protein, which make it significantly more infectious than the Delta variant.

  9. Announcing the virus has been detected in India, which some health experts said was inevitable, the Health Ministry said, "We need not panic about Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential. Follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and avoid gatherings."

  10. While early indications have suggested the heavily-mutated Omicron may be markedly more contagious than previous variants, there has been no evidence of the strain any deadlier.