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India’s first two Omicron cases surface in Karnataka

India's First 2 Omicron Cases In Karnataka.(Representational Image)

The first two cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in India have been detected in Karnataka, the Health Ministry said on Thursday evening.

Both the infected persons are reported to be men, with one of them a 66-year-old foreigner while the other is 46-year-old health worker.

The government has decided not to disclose their identities of the patients in order to protect their privacy.

The government urged all citizens to remain calm and observe Covid- appropriate behaviour which remains effective in guarding against infection by any variant, including Omicron. The protocol includes use of face masks, avoiding crowded places, practicing social distance and frequently sanitising hands.

The Maharashtra government said four Covid-19 cases had been reported among international passengers who landed in Mumbai before the Omicron travel rules. Two were from London, one from Mauritius and the fourth from South Africa. The samples have been sent for testing in order to find out which variant of Covid has caused the infection.

Also read:  Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreads to 24 countries as US and UAE join list

On Wednesday Maharashtra and Delhi announced six Covid cases each among international arrivals, with Chandigarh reporting two more cases.  All the infected persons have been placed in isolation and their samples are being tested to find out the strain.

The Omicron strain is considered potentially more dangerous as it has 30 spike proteins which it is feared may enable it to break through vaccine protection. However, tests to find out whether this is indeed the case are still being carried. The WHO said the final outcome should be out within days. 

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has now spread to 25 countries as of Thursday , with the U.S. also confirming a traveller who tested positive for the highly mutated strain.

The United States has barred nearly all foreigners who have been in one of eight southern African countries.

The countries in which the omicron variant has been found also include Canada, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel and the Netherlands. The UAE also reported its first case on Wednesday, the second Gulf country after Saudi Arabia.