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Detection of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in India was expected: WHO

Detection of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in India was expected: WHO

New Delhi: A top virologist on Thursday noted that the detection of two COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant from the state of Karnataka was expected.

Reacting to the development, WHO southeast Asia's regional director -Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: "The confirmation of Omicron variant by India, the first two cases in southeast Asia region, was expected in view of the interconnected world that we live in."

She also urged all countries to step up surveillance, to be on alert, and rapidly detect any importance and take measures to curtail further spread of the virus.

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that two cases of Omicron have been detected in Karnataka.

"Both persons had travelled from South Africa. Their contacts have been identified and are under monitoring," said Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (IMRC).

"All Omicron related cases have been found to have mild symptoms so far. No severe symptoms have been noticed in Omicron infection in all such cases, both in the country and abroad," the Health Ministry said.

"WHO commends the countries which have been able to quickly detect and report cases of the new variant of concern," Singh said in a tweet.

She also made it clear that the response measures for all variants of concern, including Omicron, are the same as those for SARS-CoV-2.

Comprehensive and tailored public health and social measures by the government, and strict adherence to the preventive and precautionary measures by individuals is a must for all, she added.

According to the World Health Organization, the overall global risk related to the new Covid variant has been assessed to be very high.

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