India detects first cases of new Omicron sub-variants as Saudi Arabia bans travel to country

Two cases found in southern states of Tamil Nadu and Telangana

Stuti Mishra
Monday 23 May 2022 13:13
Comments
<p>File image: The new cases of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants come as the country has been reporting over 2,000 new daily Covid-19 cases for a few days now  </p>

File image: The new cases of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants come as the country has been reporting over 2,000 new daily Covid-19 cases for a few days now

India has confirmed its first set of cases of the new Omicron sub-variant which is spreading rapidly around the world.

It comes as a spike in India’s Covid-19 cases has prompted Saudi Arabia to impose a flight ban on its citizens travelling to the country.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a government body that monitors genomic data, said on Monday that two cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants of the coronavirus were confirmed in the country.

Both cases were found in the southern region, with one reported in the Tamil Nadu state and the other in Telangana, it said. A South African national had earlier tested positive for the new, highly infectious variant, after arriving at the Hyderabad city airport.

While the identities of the patients have not been revealed, the statement said the first patient in Telangana is a fully vaccinated 80-year-old man who tested positive for the BA.5 sub-variant.

The second patient in Tamil Nadu was also a fully vaccinated person, a 19-year-old woman. Both patients have no travel history, and both are said to have mild symptoms.

Confirmation of the variant in patients who have not travelled anywhere recently suggests that internal transmission of the sub-variant has begun.

“Contact tracing of the BA.4 and BA.5 patients is being undertaken as a precautionary measure,” the INSACOG said.

While the government body said these sub-variants have not been associated with increased disease severity or hospitalisation, the rapid spread of BA.4 and BA.5, first reported from South Africa earlier this year, has been worrying scientists globally. The cases have been reported from at least 16 countries, the World Health Organisation had earlier pointed out.

The new cases of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants come as the country has been reporting over 2,000 new Covid cases for a few days now with a spike noticed last week.

This surge in the number of daily reported Covid infections in India has led Saudi Arabia to ban its citizens from travelling to the country.

On Saturday, the Middle Eastern country’s health ministry listed 16 countries, including India, where flights from Saudi Arabia would be banned until further notification.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in