The world health organisation (WHO) has stated that detection of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in India was “not unexpected”. 

India, on Thursday, reported detection of two COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant from the state of Karnataka. 

Reacting to the development, WHO southeast Asia’s regional director -Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: “The confirmation of Omicron variant by India, the first two cases in southeast Asia region, was expected in view of the interconnected world that we live in.” 

She added: “This emphasizes the need for all countries to step up surveillance, be on alert and rapidly detect any importation and take measures to curtail further spread of the virus.” 

Also read: Omicron variant: India’s first 2 cases found in Karnataka

According to the government, the Omicron variant has been detected in 2 male foreign returnees in Karnataka. 

The government said contact tracing of the Karnataka Omicron patients has been done. 

So far, a total of 24 countries including India have reported Omicron cases. 

“Omicron variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Researchers around the world are conducting studies to better understand transmissibility, severity and immune escape capabilities of Omicron,” Dr Singh said. 

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