Health Ministry confirms two cases of Omicron Covid 19 variant in Nepal

This image shows the building of the Ministry of Health and Population in Ramshahpath, Kathmandu, in May 2021. Photo courtesy: Ajay Sharma

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population today informed that two persons have tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A 66-year-old and 71-year-old men were those who contracted the variant.

The 66-year-old traveller had entered Nepal via the country confirmed for Omicron variant on November 19. His PCR report was found negative and had evidence of being fully vaccinated against Covid 19. The 71-year-old man who had come in contact with the traveller had developed symptoms of Covid 19. Both of them tested positive for coronavirus on November 23, the MoHP said on the press statement issued today.

This image shows a vehicle parked on the premises of the National Public Health Laboratory, in Tripura Marg, Kathmandu in May 2021. Photo courtesy: Deepak Shrestha

As per the new rule, gene sequencing has to be conducted on the swab that tests positive for Covid 19. The test conducted on their swab specimen had shown S-gene Target failure. However, the gene-sequencing conducted by National Public Health Laboratory, Teku on both swab specimen detected new Covid 19 variant B.1.1.529 on the night of December 5.

On November 26, the World Health Organisation (WHO) named the new Covid 19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.

Meanwhile, both the patients contracting Omicron variants have been receiving treatment in an isolation facility under the observation of health professionals as per government rule. They are said to be recovering and have not shown any symptoms of respiratory contagion. Moreover, the swab specimens collected from 66 persons under contact tracing have tested negative.

With the detection of the Omicron variant, authorities have heightened surveillance and contact tracing.
Health officials have urged all the citizens to adopt health protocols and ensure full dose vaccination which is necessary to control the transmission of Omicron and other coronavirus variants.

The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year, according to WHO.

Meanwhile, Nepal has imposed travel restrictions on the eight African countries and Hong Kong.

A total of 554 cases of new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 35 countries and their number is expected to rise.


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