Moneycontrol PRO
you are here: HomeNewsTrendsHealth

COVID-19 | Two Omicron cases detected in Karnataka: Health Ministry

The patients, identified as 66-year-old and 46-year-old males, have "mild symptoms", officials said, adding that their primary and secondary contacts have been traced.

December 02, 2021 / 09:13 PM IST
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa on November 23 (Representative image)

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa on November 23 (Representative image)

The first two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in India, the Union Health Ministry said on December 2.

Both the infections were reported from Karnataka, with the patients being identified as 66-year-old and 46-year-old males. All their primary and secondary contacts have been traced and are being tested, Union Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal said at a press briefing.

Both the patients were diagnosed with "mild symptoms", and "all their contacts have been identified and they are under monitoring. The protocol is being followed," Agrawal said.

Karnataka health officials claimed that five among the contacts of the 46-year-old infected patient have tested COVID-19 positive. However, it was yet to determined whether they have been infected with the Omicron variant.

While the Karnataka government did not reveal their names to maintain privacy, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said the 66-year-old patient infected with Omicron variant was a South African national who has "now gone back". The 46-year-old patient is a doctor who has no travel history, the minister said, adding both of them were fully vaccinated.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more

"Out of his (doctor's) primary and secondary contact, 5 people tested positive for COVID-19. So a total of six people have been isolated, admitted to govt hospital. None of them showing any serious symptoms. All these people are fully vaccinated," Dr Sudhakar added.

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said there is "no need to panic" over the detection of Omicron cases. "But awareness is absolutely essential. COVID-apt behaviour is required," he noted, adding that vaccinated citizens who are yet to take their second dose should opt for timely inoculation.

The two cases in Karnataka, Dr Bhargava further said, were detected "through genome sequencing effort of INSACOG consortium of 37 laboratories established by the Ministry of Health".

Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul maintained that the COVID-19 situation in India is "well under control" despite the risks posed by Omicron. "There will be no drastic curbs any time soon," said Dr Paul, who heads the Centre's COVID-19 task force.

Also Read | COVID-19 Omicron in India: Top 5 quotes from government after 2 cases in Karnataka

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai, while speaking at the News18 Chaupal event, said inbound passengers should only arrive if they are "healthy".

"If anyone coming from abroad, they should come healthy for the sake of safety of other people" apart from themselves, Bommai said.

Omicron, technically referred to as COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, was first detected in South Africa on November 23. It subsequently triggered a global alarm, as scientists pointed that the variant is heavily mutated. This means that it may evade the immunity generated through antibodies and vaccines. However, there is no evidence yet to prove that it will be more contagious.

The World Health Organisation had, on November 26, categorised Omicron as a "variant of concern".

Also Read | New COVID-19 variant | Govt postpones resumption of scheduled international flights; air bubbles to continue

In view of the emerging risk, several governments across the world decided to partially shut their borders, delay the resumption of international commercial flights and ramp up the testing and tracing mechanism.

In India, passengers arriving from at-risk countries would be required to undergo RT-PCR tests at the airports. If found COVID-19 positive, they would be sent for treatment under the clinical management protocol. In case of a negative test report, they would be asked to remain under self-quarantine for seven days.

The list of "at-risk" countries includes European nations, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 2, 2021 04:32 pm

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark