Manipur on December 27 reported its first case of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 when a returnee from Tanzania tested positive for the variant.
The 48-year-old man from Imphal West district is also the first person in the Northeast region of the country to be reported positive of the variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has earlier declared Omicron as a “variant of concern’.
According to the Manipur health department, the Omicron variant case was reported in a person who recently came back from Tanzania. Results of three members of his family who also tested positive for COVID-19 are waiting, the health department added.
Addressing a press conference in Imphal on December 27, director of the Manipur health department, Dr K Rajo said that the patient returned to India on December 12 and reached Imphal on the next day.
“After keeping under surveillance for a few days, his swab sample was sent for COVID-19 test on December 20, following which his sample was sent for whole genome sequencing to the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) Takyelpat in Imphal the next day. The result was received today with Omicron positive,” the health director further said.
No sooner had the results been received he was shifted to a special isolation ward at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal East district. The patient was vaccinated against COVID-19 and is in good health condition. He is not showing symptoms of the viral disease till date, Dr Rajo also said.
The three members of his family who were also tested positive for COVID-19 were sent for genome sequencing. The results are expected at the earliest, the health director said.
The three persons have also been shifted to an isolation center at RD Wing of the Directorate of Health Service, he informed.
The health director further informed that till date as many as 480 individuals have arrived in the state from foreign countries since the Centre took up precautionary measures to check the spread of the variant of concern – Omicron. Of them, 306 individuals are currently under surveillance.
“All precautions have been taken up to face any eventuality arising out of the spread of the new variant in the state”, the health director also said, while asking people not to panic.
While reiterating that vaccination is the most effective way to protect from the pandemic, the health director appealed to all to vaccinate.
Dr Rajo then said that for the Delta variant, there is no need for fear as it is almost under control.