Fri, 21 Jan 2022

New Delhi [India] December 2 (ANI): As the Union Health Ministry confirmed two COVID-19 cases of Omicron (B.1.1.529) in Karnataka on Thursday, World Health Organization (WHO) said that it was 'not unexpected' in South-East Asia Region while emphasising the need for all countries to step up surveillance amid the spread of Omicron variant.

Dr Poonam Khetarpal Singh, WHO Regional Director, South East Asia, said in a tweet, "The first two cases in WHO South-East Asia Region was not unexpected in view of the interconnected world that we live in. This emphasises on the need for all countries to step up surveillance, to be on alert and rapidly detect any importation and take measures to curtail further spread of the virus."Dr Khetarpal added, "Comprehensive and tailored public health and social measures by governments, and strict adherence to preventive and precautionary measures by individuals is a must."While stressing on taking up all precautionary measures even after getting vaccinated, Dr Khetrapal said that travellers must adhere to public health and social measures at all times and remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

"Omicron variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Researchers around the world are conducting studies to better understand the transmissibility, severity and immune escape capabilities of Omicron. WHO commends countries which have been able to quickly detect and report cases of the new variant of concern," she further observed.

So far, around 29 countries have reported 373 cases of Omicron Variant.

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'. (ANI)

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