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2 Omicron cases detected in Karnataka, first in India, says health ministry

The infected patients are 66 and 46 years old. Contact tracing is on, government says.

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New Delhi: India’s first two cases of Covid-19 infections by the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been detected in Karnataka, the Union health ministry said Thursday.

One of those infected is a 66-year-old person and another is 46, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry, told reporters.

Senior government officials said primary and secondary contacts of the two cases had also been traced and urged people to opt for timely vaccination and not panic.

Speaking at the media briefing, Dr V.K. Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog said there is no plan to change the gap between doses, adding that the country’s policy is to vaccinate the maximum number of people.

There had been several cases of travellers from foreign countries entering India and testing positive, including one person from South Africa, but until Thursday’s announcement no genome analysis had detected the presence of the Omicron variant — believed to be the most mutated version of SARS-CoV-2 so far — in India.

With 9,765 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India’s total tally of Covid cases rose to 3,46,06,541, while the active cases increased to 99,763, according to the ministry data updated on Thursday.

Also read: On Omicron, keep eye out for changes in hospitalisation rate & mortality: Centre tells states


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