As two cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant have been detected in Karnataka, the central government, on Thursday, urged people not to panic, not let their guard down, follow COVID appropriate behaviour and get inoculated without delay.
The Union Health Ministry called for calm amid growing concerns over the new strain that has spooked the world.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has convened a high-level meeting with experts and senior officers on Friday to take a decision on imposing further curbs in the state. India is the 30th country to report the new strain.
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One of the Omicron-infected patients is a 66-year-old foreign national who had travelled to South Africa, and the other a 46-year-old healthcare worker based in Bengaluru, who has no travel history.
The health ministry said all primary and secondary contacts of both the COVID patients have been traced and are being tested.
The health ministry stated that the new variant is not severe and that both the cases are mild.
Both patients have not manifested any severe symptoms and were double vaccinated, the health ministry said.
The ministry has urged people not to press the panic button yet and appealed to everyone to follow COVID appropriate behaviour and large gatherings.
Globally, 373 Omicron cases have been detected in 29 countries so far, according to WHO data. Nine nations reported the cases of the new variant on December 1.
The government said travellers arriving from 'at-risk' nations are required to undergo mandatory RTPCR tests upon arrival, and if found to be positive for Omicron, they will be treated under clinical management protocol.
Karnataka CM Basavaraja Bommai called upon Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and discussed the developing situation. Bommai said new SOPs (standard operating procedures) will be announced soon.
The Omicron strain is suspected to be five times more contagious than the other known variants of coronavirus.
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