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Omicron Variant of COVID Reaches India, 1st Two Cases Detected in Karnataka

On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said that two instances of Omicron variant had been discovered in the nation.

Omicron Variant of COVID Reaches India, 1st Two Cases Detected in Karnataka

Sentinel Digital Desk

NEW DELHI: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed India's first two Omicron cases -- both in Karnataka.

One of the two infected people is a South African who had travelled to India. The other is a Bengalurean with no travel history. The two who tested positive are aged 48 years and 66 years respectively. Both were doubly vaccinated and are asymptomatic.

The Karnataka Omicron patients' contacts have been traced, according to the authorities. Omicron instances have been documented in a total of 24 countries, including India.

India has imposed travelling limitations on foreign travellers travelling from South Africa and "at risk" nations after the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the warning that the Omicron strain of the COVID-19 viral infection represents a significant chance of disease throughout the world. It's a tremendous relief that scientists in India have confirmed that the novel variety initially discovered in South Africa does not evade RT-PCR and quick antigen tests, indicating that its transmission can be halted by increasing testing and tracing affected people's contacts. With such a broad list of "at risk" countries, the tourist industry is certain to suffer. Although the Omicron variety has spread to 16 nations, it has yet to be discovered in India.

On Thursday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a teleconference with the health secretary and National Health Mission (NHM) directors of the states and union territories to discuss the condition and development of the 'Har Ghar Dastak' programme.

According to a notification published by the Health Ministry, throughout the videoconferencing, Health Secretary Bhushan instructed 7 states to select regions with a large number of initial doses left out for the implementation of ZyCoV-D. The Omicron variation has been found in two male foreign returnees in Karnataka, according to the authorities.

Aside from submitting a negative RTPCR result from tests done 72 hours previous to departure, travellers will be forced to undertake the Covid test upon arrival, stay in personal isolation for seven days if the test is negative, and repeat the test on the eighth day. All social contacts of individuals who test positive, including those sat in the same row, three rows in front, and three rows behind, shall be quarantined for 14 days. Such restrictions would discourage visitors from at-risk nations from visiting India.

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