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First two Omicron COVID variant cases confirmed in India

India has confirmed its first two COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant, the Health Ministry said today, making it the 30th country in the world to report the latest coronavirus strain.

India was set to restart scheduled commercial international flights on December 15, but yesterday scrapped that plan
India was set to restart scheduled commercial international flights on December 15, but yesterday scrapped that plan. Photo: Connected to India

Both the cases have been reported in Karnataka with the patients being two men aged 66 and 46, the Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal told a news briefing, adding that their identities will not be disclosed for now.

According to sources, while the 66-year-old is a foreigner with a history of travel to South Africa, the 46-year-old is a health worker in Bengaluru. The first patient left India seven days after his results came back positive.

All people who came in contact with the two men have been traced and are being tested, he said, adding that both the cases are mild and there are no severe symptoms so far.

"We need not panic about Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential. Follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and avoid gatherings," Agarwal said.

Dr VK Paul, chief of the centre's COVID-19 task force, said, "There will be no drastic curbs any time soon. The situation is well under control."

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

"It is too early to assess whether Omicron causes more severe infection or less compared to other variants, including Delta," Agarwal said.

First discovered in southern Africa, Omicron represents a fresh challenge to global efforts to battle the pandemic with several nations already re-imposing restrictions many had hoped were a thing of the past.

It is the latest coronavirus strain to emerge since the start of the pandemic, including the currently dominant Delta variant, which was first detected in India in October 2020.

India was set to restart scheduled commercial international flights on December 15, but yesterday scrapped that plan and said a resumption date would be announced in due course.

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indians Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK, India and UAE. Connected to India covers developments around NRIs. Cover arts, political, sports, finance, entrepreneurship, business, movies, dramas, entertainment and other news for Indians living worldwide.

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