Couple From UAE Tests Positive For Omicron Variant Of COVID-19 In Kerala

Couple From UAE Tests Positive For Omicron Variant Of COVID-19 In Kerala

Omicron was detected in three people in the state who came from non-high-risk countries (File)

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala:

Kerala on Friday logged two new cases of the Omicron variant of COVId-19, taking the overall tally to seven in the state, said Health Minister Veena George.

The new variant of the virus was detected in an elderly couple who arrived in Ernakulam from the UAE.

Ms George said that the 68-year-old man and his 67-year-old wife had arrived on December 8 from Sharjah.

“As UAE was not included in the high-risk country as per the central government guidelines, they were advised for self-monitoring. Both underwent RTPCR tests on December 11 and 12 after symptoms developed. They tested positive for COVID-19. Their samples were then sent to the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology for genome sequencing and both tested positive for Omicron,” said the Health Minister.

She further said that there are six in the husband’s primary contact list and one in the wife’s primary contact list.

“There were 54 passengers on the flight. All of them were informed,” she added.

With this, Omicron was detected in three people in the state who came from non-high-risk countries.

The state had detected its first Omicron case on December 12 in Ernakulam district when a person who had returned from the UK tested positive. Four more cases of the new variant were confirmed on December 15.

With this, Omicron was confirmed for two people who came from non-high-risk countries.

“A total of seven cases of Omicron has so far been confirmed in the state. Those coming from non-high-risk countries should strictly adhere to the self-monitoring guidelines. They should not visit public places or attend crowded functions for 14 days for any reason,” added Veena George.

The state had detected its first Omicron case on December 12 in Ernakulam district when a person who had returned from the UK tested positive. Four more cases of the new variant were confirmed on December 15.

A new variant of COVID-19 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’.

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