Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], December 2 (ANI): The 46-year-old man who was among the two persons who detected positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19, is a local resident and does not have any travel history, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Thursday.
Earlier today, the Union Health Ministry informed that two cases of the potentially more dangerous coronavirus strain were detected in Karnataka.
Addressing reporters here, the Karnataka health minister said: "Two people found positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. One person is about 66-years-old and a South African national, who has gone back. Another person is a 46-year-old doctor. He does not have any travel history.""The 66-year-old, who has left for South Africa, via Dubai, had presented a negative certificate for the virus, from a private lab. His primary and secondary contacts (total 264) were found negative. So it means to say that his certificate may be true," he said.
"Out of 46-year-old man's primary and secondary contacts examined, five people have tested positive for COVID-19. So a total of six people have been isolated and admitted to a government hospital. None of them are showing any serious symptoms. All these people are fully vaccinated," the minister added.
The samples of the contacts of the 46-year-old man have been sent for further genome sequencing and their its results are awaited.
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'.
Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.
The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.
India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has informed that the Omicron variant can be five times more infectious than the other known variants of the novel coronavirus. (ANI)