India’s First Cases of Omicron

India has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Karnataka. One is a 66-year-old South African national and the second, a 46-year-old Indian doctor from Bengaluru.


Important Points:

  • Both reportedly have “mild symptoms.”
  • The announcement was made following confirmation from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) that monitors the genomic variations of the pandemic.
  • The Indian developed fever and body ache on November 21 and underwent the RT-PCR test at a hospital on November 22 when he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said the person was under home isolation till November 24 and was admitted to a hospital on November 25. He was discharged on November 27.
  • Omicron has been designated a Variant of Concern (VoC) by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • The South African national left for Dubai on November 27 after testing negative. He came to India on November 20, and was quarantined in a hotel. As many as 24 of his primary, and 240 secondary contacts were tested, and found to be negative. They were still under watch.


Dilemma Over International Travel

  • The Union Government on Wednesday cited concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and indefinitely postponed the full resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15.
  • This means international flights will continue to operate on a smaller scale and only with 31 countries with which India has air bubble agreements.
  • The Union Health Ministry said six COVID-19 positive cases were reported from 11 international flights from “at-risk” countries.