Two males, 66 and 46 years of age, test positive for omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2; all primary and secondary contacts of both cases have been traced and are being tested
At least two cases of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) were reported in Karnataka December 2, 2021. The variant was detected in the two patients through genome sequencing efforts by the INSACOG consortium of 37 laboratories established by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The two patients are both male, 66 and 46 years of age. All primary and secondary contacts of both cases have been traced and are being tested.
Balram Bhargava, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical research, told the press:
We need not panic, but awareness is absolutely essential. Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) appropriate behaviour is required. Use of masks and hand hygiene, not going to or organising mass gatherings will help breaking the chain if transmission of Omicron. Increased vaccine uptake is the need of the hour. Do not delay getting fully vaccinated.
The travel history and severity of symptoms of these two cases remains unknown. The Union health ministry refused to share any more information citing privacy concerns. However, anecdotal evidence from other countries has shown those infected with Omicron to have mild symptoms.
Some 37 international flights have landed in India between midnight December 1 and 8 am December 2. Almost 8,000 people landed from ‘at risk’ countries and were administered RT-PCR tests.
Of these, 10 tested positive for COVID-19. Their samples had been collected for genome sequencing, the health ministry noted in the press briefing. Some 883 samples have been sent for genome sequencing between November 26 and December 2, all of which tested positive for the Delta variant.
“Passengers arriving from ‘at risk’ countries need to undergo RT-PCR tests on arrival. They shall be treated under clinical management protocol if found positive for COVID-19. They shall be in home quarantine for a week if found negative,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry, said.
The health ministry cited Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) — the world’s largest database of novel coronavirus genome sequences — and noted there are currently 373 cases of the Omicron variant in 29 countries.
The government had announced the resumption of regular international flights from December 15. However, that has now been put on hold with the detection and classification of Omicron as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week.
A new date will be announced shortly.
In the past 24 hours, India has reported 9,765 new COVID-19 cases and 477 deaths. The total tally of active cases and deaths now stands at 99,763 and 469,724 respectively.
Some 80,35,261 vaccine doses were administered in the past 24 hours of which 2,121,424 were the first dose and 5,913,837 the second, data from the health ministry notes.
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