3 tourists among 5 Omicron confirmed cases in Kashmir

All negative now; 3-week old samples reported on Tuesday
3 tourists among 5 Omicron confirmed cases in Kashmir
A health worker sorts a swab sample for COVID-19 testing in Kashmir. [Representational Image] Mubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The first five cases of Omicron variant infected patients were confirmed today in the Kashmir division, the samples pertaining to the third week of December. Three of the samples had been taken from tourists in Anantnag district.

A pregnant woman from district Baramulla, a Shopian man returning from Dubai and a family of three from Mumbai in Maharashtra visiting

Kashmir for tourism were infected with Omicron variant of SARS-CoV2, the J&K Government confirmed today. The five Omicron cases take the total number of confirmed cases of the fast-spreading mutant to eight in J&K now. However, the samples pertain to 22 December and since the past three weeks, the actual number of Omicron in the samples sent for sequencing from the UT is unclear.

Chief Medical Officer Anantnag, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Shah said the three samples reports of which were received from Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) today had been sent for Whole Genome Sequencing on December 22. He said the samples had been sent from GMC Anantnag and had been taken from three tourists from Mumbai Maharashtra. “They had proceeded for home isolation as soon as they tested positive. They have even tested negative now,” he said.

A woman in her ninth month of pregnancy had tested positive after her sample had been taken at SDH Uri. The sample had been sent for WGS by GMC Srinagar and was reported Omicron infected today. A senior health official said the woman was “totally asymptomatic” and her sample had been taken for the purpose of the delivery. “She had no travel history and has tested negative as well now,” he said.

A Shopian man who had travelled from Sharjah to Srinagar via Delhi on December 15 had tested positive after eight day home isolation. His sample was found positive and sent for sequencing on December 22 as per the protocol and he was shifted to DRDO Hospital Khanmoh. The patient tested negative on January 1,” a health official said.

A senior health official said that the fact samples dating back to the mid and third week of December are found to be infected with Omicron is an indicator of the spread of the mutant in J&K. Earlier, three samples from the Jammu division were found to be Omicron positive.

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