Two South Africa returnees test positive in Karnataka, Samples sent for analysis

Amid fears of the spread of new Covid strain ‘Omicron’ looming large, two South African nationals have tested positive for the coronavirus in Karnataka. Their samples have already been sent for further tests.

Maharashtra has imposed fresh restrictions a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Omicron (B.1.1.529), as a “variant of concern”. According to the latest guidelines issued, all travellers into the state from any international destination will be processed according to the directions of the central government while all domestic travellers should either need to be fully vaccinated or carry RT-PCR tests valid for 72 hours.
WHO had declared the Omicron to be a ‘Variant of Concern’. B.1.1.529 or Omicron was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24.

The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was detected from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021. The Omicron variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. The preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of re-infection with this variant, as compared to other variants.

Scientists have informed that the Omicron variant appears to have a high number of mutations (almost about 30 times) in the coronavirus’ spike protein, making it more transmissible.

However, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of South Africa has reported that “currently no unusual symptoms” are being shown by patients testing positive with the omicron variant. NICD further said that as with other infectious variants such as delta, some of those infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus are asymptomatic.