Omicron in India: First 2 Omicron Cases Detected in Karnataka; States Tighten Travel Rules

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Latest India News: The WHO-labeled ‘Variant of Concern’ Omicron continues to spread around the world, infecting a total of 373 individuals across 29 countries so far. This has led several nations to take strict measures that included travel bans or tightened entry rules for international travelers to restrict the spread of this dangerous virus mutation. Amid concerns over a possible third COVID-19 wave in the country, India too has revised international travel guidelines, which took effect on December 1.

Omicron has hit India too as the country reported its first 2 Omicron cases yesterday, both from the state of Karnataka. One of them is a 66-year-old South African who arrived on an international flight to Bengaluru via Dubai last month and the other is a 46-year-old local doctor with no travel history.

There’s no need to panic, assured the health officials as both of them showed mild symptoms. It is also said that these two men who tested positive for the Omicron virus were fully vaccinated.

“We need not panic about the Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential. Follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and avoid mass gatherings,” ICMR Director-General Dr. Balram Bhargava said.

The South Africa national has already left the country, the officials said. However, all the primary and secondary contacts of the infected persons have been traced and are being tested. The official press release stated that 5 of the 46-year-old doctor’s contacts tested positive for COVID-19 and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing for confirmation. The doctor and his five contacts have been isolated and kept under watch at a government hospital. On the other hand, Maharashtra has sent the samples of 28 Omicron suspects for genome sequencing.

In the wake of the national and global events, several states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttarakhand have amended entry guidelines for domestic and international travelers. 

Maharashtra has mandated seven-day institutional quarantine for travelers from South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Domestic travelers who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must carry a negative RT-PCR report while traveling to Maharashtra. While international travelers arriving in Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir will have to undergo RT-PCR test, mandatory seven-day home quarantine (if tested negative) and get re-tested again on the seventh/ eighth day, travelers flying to Delhi are required to submit a self-declaration form on ‘Air Suvidha’ portal, besides uploading negative RT-PCR report before scheduled travel. 

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