India reports its first cases of the new Covid variant, Omicron. Two men from the state of Karnataka, have tested positive for the new coronavirus variant.
Previously, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that this new variant of Covid has a high infection risk.
Officials report that one of the two men is a 66-year-old South African national, had traveled there and already left India.
The second man who tested positive is a 46-year-old doctor in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru and has no travel history so far.
These are the first cases of the Omicron variant to be reported in India. Health officials said that the two patients with the new strain had shown mild symptoms, as reported by BBC.
According to the official release, five contacts of the 46-year-old have been tested positive and are currently in isolation. Their samples have also been sent for genome testing.
On the other hand, the South African landed in Bengaluru on 20 November and was found to be Covid positive after going through screening at the airport. He then isolated himself in a hotel.
After two days, his samples were sent for genome sequencing. The man also did a test at a private lab and got a negative result.
On 27 November, he took a cab to the Bengaluru Airport and left for Dubai. The man had made 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts. All of them have tested negative, officials said.
Basavaraj Bommai as the Chief Minister said that he was monitoring the situation closely, following the report of the first cases.
There are six samples from people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Delhi and another six from Maharashtra. All samples have been sent for genome sequencing to determine the variant.
New Travel Restrictions in India
Following these cases, the Indian government announced new travel restrictions for international passengers arriving from certain countries considered to be “at-risk” starting Wednesday. These countries include the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and Israel.
Travelers from the countries mentioned above will be tested on arrival and would not be able to leave the airport without a negative test result. However, those who test negative must still go through quarantine at home for seven days and get tested again on the eighth day.
Those who test positive will also be isolated and treated, and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing.
Different states in India have also announced different policies for travelers.
All passengers flying into Maharashtra from “at-risk” countries will have to spend an institutional quarantine for seven days. Not only that, Delhi and Karnataka announced that all international passengers will undergo a mandatory PCR test on arrival.