Two coronavirus Omicron variant cases have been detected in India’s Karnataka state, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
It is the first confirmation of the coronavirus strain within the country’s borders that has triggered global alarm now.
Two men, a 66-year-old and a 46-year-old had both tested positive for the variant, Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said in a briefing.
“All primary contacts and secondary contacts of both the cases have been traced and are being tested,” Agarwal said.
He also also noted that patients infected by the Omicron variant in other countries have shown mild symptoms so far.
The Indian Council of Medical Research chief Dr. Balram Bhargava said that there was no need to panic but maintaining awareness was essential.
Omicron, designated is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared with other strains.
At least 29 other countries have reported Omicron infections, according to the World Health Organization, a week after it was declared a variant of concern by the UN health agency.