Nepal reports new Omicron caseA foreign national has been detected with the new coronavirus infection, the Heath Ministry says.
Nepal on Wednesday reported a new Omicron case.
According to the Ministry of Health and Population, a foreign national, 58, tested positive for the Omicron variant.
“The man, who tested positive for Covid-19 was under surveillance,” Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, joint-spokesperson for the Health Ministry, told the Post. “Whole-genome sequencing carried out at the National Public Health Laboratory confirmed that the man was infected with the Omicron variant.”
The ministry refused to reveal further details but said that the man had returned from a country highly affected by Omicron.
“Contact tracing has already started,” said Dr Sangita Mishra, spokesperson for the Health Ministry.
Mishra did not provide travel history details of the infected person.
The Health Ministry said ever since the emergence of Omicron, 2,038 swab samples of infected persons have been analysed for S-gene target failure.
Of them, S-gene has been found missing in three samples. This is the third sample with the Omicron variant after two earlier cases reported earlier this month.
Other 2,035 samples were infected with the Delta variant, according to Mishra.
Earlier on December 6, two persons, both foreign nationals, had tested positive for the Omicron variant. The infected persons who were aged 66 and 71 tested negative two days later.
The World Health Organisation has called Omicron a “variant of concern”, warning that the global risks posed by it are “very high”.
The first known confirmed Omicron variant infection was reported from a specimen collected on November 9, according to the World Health Organisation.
At least 213 cases of the new variant of the coronavirus have been detected in India and the virus has been detected already in over 100 countries.
Even though over 100 countries throughout the world have reported the new variant of the virus, authorities in Nepal have restricted entry of passengers arriving or transiting from only nine countries—South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and Hong Kong.
People returning from other countries, which have recorded cases of the Omicron variant, have been freely entering Nepal, as there is no restriction in place to prevent them from travelling or quarantining them for a certain number of days.
The World Health Organisation said that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have already been infected with other variants.
Public health experts in Nepal say that the authorities concerned should start preparations for the worst case scenario.