First 2 cases of Omicron variant detected in India

First 2 cases of Omicron variant detected in India
A health worker collects swab sample of a tourist for COVID-19 testing at Tangmarg on way to famous tourist destination Gulmarg in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. File: Mubashir Khan/GK

New Delhi: Two persons in Karnataka have tested positive for Omicron, the newest variant of COVID-19, after genome sequencing, Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said here on Thursday. Both cases have travel history to South Africa.

"Two cases of Omicron have been 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 appropriate behaviour is required," Bhargava said.

The contacts of the duo that tested positive for the latest variant have been identified and are under monitoring, he said.

"All Omicron related cases are found to have mild symptoms so far. No severe symptoms have been noticed in all such cases, both in the country and abroad. The WHO has said that the virus' emerging evidence is being studied," said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, adding that around 29 countries across the world have reported 373 cases of Omicron so far.

Addressing a press conference on the ongoing COVID situation, Agrawal said that a surge in cases is being observed across the world, with Europe alone reporting 70 per cent of the cases in the past one week.

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