India Thursday reported its first two known Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant, discovered in two men aged 46 and 66, respectively, in the southern state of Karnataka.
"Both the cases have been reported in Karnataka. Their identities will not be disclosed for now to protect their privacy," Indian Health Ministry's joint secretary Lav Agarwal told the media in the national capital.
"All people who came in contact with the two men have been traced and are being tested. Both the cases are mild and there are no severe symptoms so far. There is no need to panic about the Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential," he added.
Local TV channels, however, claimed, quoting unnamed sources, that the 66-year-old is a foreigner, while the 46-year-old is a health worker based in Karnataka capital Bengaluru. Both of them tested positive for the new variant after reportedly returning from abroad.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, India logged a total of 9,765 Covid cases in 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 3,46,06,541, according to the Health Ministry data. Omicron has been classified as "a variant of concern" by the World Health Organisation.
The detection of the two known Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant in India comes a day after the government backtracked on its decision to resume regular international flights from December 15, following an advice by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Indian government put curbs on all domestic and international flights in March last year in the wake of the Covid-induced lockdown. However, it allowed domestic flights from May 2020, and the entry of all foreigners except tourists from October that year.