India reports its first two Omicron cases, govt says don’t panic but follow Covid protocols – 10 points


New Delhi: India has reported its first Omicron cases. With two cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus been detected in Karnataka, the Union government said on Thursday that people should not to panic, but follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated without delay.

Here are some details and who said what about the crucial development: 

– Both the patients in Karnata are men aged 66 years and 46 years with mild symptoms. Severe symptoms have not been noted, an official said during a press conference. 

– The official added that following the detection of the two Omicron cases through the INSACOG network, all their primary and secondary contacts were traced in time and were being tested.

– “The confirmation of Omicron Variant of Concern today by India, the first two cases in WHO South-East Asia Region, was not unexpected in view of the interconnected world that we live in,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia.

–  Dr Dhiren of Gangaram Hospital expressed similar sentiments. “Detection of Omicron variant of the virus in India was expected. People in India need to be calm and composed but at the same time we should be vigilant. With our initial reports, we can say that it is a milder virus as compared to the other variants.”

– “Asymptomatic cases spread faster due to lack of awareness in people. Vaccination will benefit all of us. The next two weeks are going to be critical, take this period as personal lockdown. Younger people have been affected in South Africa by the Omicron variant,” said Dr Dhiren.

– “Omicron variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Researchers around the world are conducting studies to better understand transmissibility, severity and immune escape capabilities of Omicron,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

– “All Omicron related cases are found to have mild symptoms so far… In all such cases in the country and across the world so far, no severe symptom has been noted. WHO has said that its emerging evidence is being studied,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry.

– “The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is being carefully examined, will take decisions on the basis of it, it’s an ongoing discussion within our technical and scientific circles,” said VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog over ban on intl flights, booster dose and pediatric vaccination.

– “Increased COVID-19 vaccine uptake need of the hour, do not delay in getting fully vaccinated,” added VK Paul.

– The government stated that 373 cases of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in 29 nations so far and India was monitoring the situation. “It is too early to assess whether Omicron causes more severe infection or less compared to other variants, including Delta,” the official told the press conference quoting the World Health Organisation which has designated the latest variant as a ‘variant of concern’.

The new COVID-19 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as `Omicron`. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.


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