India reports first 2 Omicron cases in Karnataka, Health Ministry asks people not to panic
According to the ministry, two people aged 66 and 46 have tested positive for the novel Covid-19 type, and contact tracing for primary and secondary contacts is underway.
The Union Health Ministry reported two cases of Omicron in Karnataka via INSACOG on Thursday, noting that the landscape of circulating variations in India revealed a preponderance of Delta (B.1.617.2) over other variants since April 2021. The INSACOG is a federal group that is participating in the genome sequencing of the coronavirus.
According to the ministry, two people aged 66 and 46 have tested positive for the novel Covid-19 type, and contact tracing for primary and secondary contacts is underway. It said that samples from ten passengers had been taken for Genome Surveillance. It further stated that around 29 countries have reported 373 cases of Omicron so far.
According to Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, all Omicron related cases are found to have mild symptoms so far and in almost every case in the country and across the world so far, no severe symptom has been noted. He added that the WHO has said that its emerging evidence is being studied. Throwing light on India's situation, Aggarwal said, Maharashtra and Kerala are the only two states with more than 10,000 active cases of Covid-19. Kerala accounted for 54% of all instances reported in the previous week, he noted.
The ministry further stated that people should not panic about Omicron detection and be aware and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour including prohibiting gatherings. It added that individuals should not delay in getting their vaccination.
Meanwhile, international airports throughout India began extensive screening and testing of all arrivals. According to standards set by the government, all travellers travelling from 'at risk' countries (including European countries and South Africa, where the Omicron strain was initially discovered) must undergo RT-PCR testing upon arrival. To depart the airport, the test result must be negative.
India had planned to resume regular commercial foreign flights on December 15, but cancelled the plan on Wednesday, saying a resumption date will be announced in due time.