— AFP/File

NEW DELHI: India introduced its first two instances of the extremely infectious Omicron COVID-19 variant on Thursday, months after a devastating wave of the virus killed greater than 200,000 folks across the nation.

Prime well being ministry official Luv Agarwal stated two males in southern Karnataka state, aged 66 and 46, had examined optimistic for the variant.

“As per the protocols all their main and secondary contacts have been traced and are being examined,” he informed a press briefing.

India has but to impose new blanket worldwide journey bans however on Monday the well being ministry ordered all inbound travellers from “nations at-risk” to endure necessary post-arrival COVID-19 testing, together with the random testing of different worldwide arrivals.

The nation’s greatest metropolis Mumbai on Wednesday imposed necessary seven-day quarantines for all passengers arriving from at-risk nations.

Omicron, first found in southern Africa, represents a contemporary problem to international efforts to battle the pandemic with a number of nations already re-imposing restrictions many had hoped had been a factor of the previous.

It’s the newest coronavirus pressure to emerge for the reason that begin of the pandemic, together with the at the moment dominant Delta variant, which was first detected in India in October 2020.

Greater than 200,000 folks across the nation died in a devastating COVID-19 wave between April and June that overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

It struck after one of many world’s greatest spiritual gatherings, the Kumbh Mela, which attracted round 25 million Hindu pilgrims.

That gathering, together with massive state election rallies, was blamed by consultants for fuelling the Delta surge.

India has the world’s second-highest variety of instances, with greater than 34 million confirmed infections.

Its almost 470,000 COVID-19 deaths are the third-highest, behind the tolls in america and Brazil.

However under-reporting is widespread and a few research have estimated India’s true toll could possibly be as much as ten instances greater.

The nation has since administered greater than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses however solely round a 3rd of the inhabitants are absolutely vaccinated, in accordance with authorities knowledge.

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