New Delhi: Two passengers who arrived at the Chennai airport and Tiruchirapalli airport from the UK and Singapore have tested positive for COVID-19 amid the emergence of the Omicron variant. The swab samples of the passengers were sent for genome sequencing to determine if they have contracted the Omicron variant of coronavirus.Also Read - Omicron Infection May Protect You Against Delta, And Other Variant of Concerns: ICMR

The passenger who arrived from the UK, has been admitted to the special ward of King Institute of Preventive Medicine in Chennai. His swab samples have been sent to Bengaluru for genomes sequencing, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian said. Three family members, who travelled along with the 10-year-old boy, had tested COVID-19 positive. They have now been put under quarantine. Also Read - Moderna Begins Next Phase of Omicron-specific Booster Trial in Adults After Pfizer-BioNTech | Read Details

The other passenger from Singapore who arrived at Tiruchirapalli airport and tested COVID positive, is admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Tiruchi. The passenger has been kept under observation. Also Read - No Masks in Closed Spaces, Vaccine Proof Not Needed: UK Lifts COVID Restrictions as Omicron Threat Recedes

Tamil Nadu Health Minister said that the state’s health department has already alerted all the international airports to conduct compulsory checks for all passengers arriving from ‘at-risk’ countries in view of Omicron variant cases reported globally and in the country.

“The state health department has already alerted all the international airports in Tamil Nadu to conduct compulsory checks for all passengers arriving from ‘at- risk’ countries,” Subramanian was quoted as saying by news agency IANS. This comes after India reported the first two cases of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant in Karnataka.

INDIA REPORTS FIRST CASES OF OMICRON VARIANT

India’s first cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus were detected in Karnataka, the Union health ministry said. Of the two Omicron-infected patients, one is a 46-year-old doctor from Bengaluru and the other is a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative Covid test report.

Both the patients were double vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. The doctor who tested positive for the Omicron variant of SARS-CoC-2 had no travel history, the health ministry said. The other Omicron-infected patient who tested positive for the new variant in Karnataka, a South African national, has now left the country.

A new variant of COVID-19 – Omicron (B.1.1.529) – 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.

Since then, at least 373 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported from 29 nations, according to the data by World Health Organisation (WHO).

(With inputs from IANS)