New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the worries and precautions over the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Union Health Ministry on Thursday informed that two cases of the new, more infectious Omicron Variant have been detected in India. The Health Ministry said that both the cases have been reported from Karnataka where two males, aged 66 years and 46 years, were diagnosed with the new variant after genome sequencing of their samples. 

Addressing a press briefing in Delhi, Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said all primary and secondary contacts of the two infected persons from Karnataka have been identified and they are being monitored and COVID-protocols are being followed.

"Two cases of Omicron Variant reported in the country so far. Both cases from Karnataka. All their contacts have been identified and they are under monitoring. The protocol is being followed", he said. 

"Two cases of Omircron detected in Karnataka so far through genome sequencing effort of INSACOG consortium of 37 laboratories established by the Ministry of Health. We need not panic, but awareness is absolutely essential. COVID apt behaviour is required", ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said.

According to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), one of the two patients is a 66-year-old male while the other is a 46-year-old male. The 66-year-old person had returned from South Africa (via Dubai) and was fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, three primary contacts and two secondary contacts of the 46-year-old male tested positive between 22nd and 25th November. All the traced positive contacts have been isolated and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing. 

As per a report by news agency IANS, quoting Health Department sources, one of the infected people has already recovered, while the other is under hotel quarantine in Bengaluru. The BBMP has tracked the primary contacts of the two infected persons.

While 12 primary contacts of the first infected person tested negative, 212 primary contacts of the second infected have been quarantined and their results are awaited and all are asymptomatic.

According to officials, the first infected person arrived from South Africa on November 1 and the second one between November 15 and 20. The first infected person has completed quarantine and is healthy and the second one is also asymptomatic and all right, sources said.

Meanwhile, the health ministry further said that that the Omicron variant can be five times more infectious than the other known variants of the novel coronavirus. The health ministry also said that so far the new, more infectious variant has been detected in 29 countries where 377 cases have been diagnosed with the Omicron variant. 

The new COVID-19 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.

On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'. Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.


(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan