Infected persons had travelled via country where the virus was already detected
KATHMANDU, Dec 6: A new variant of coronavirus 'Omicron' has been found in Nepal. At a press conference organized by the Ministry of Health and Population on Monday, Deputy Spokesperson Dr Samir Adhikari said that ‘Omicron’ variant of coronavirus was also detected in Nepal.
A 66-year-old foreigner had entered Nepal from Tribhuvan International Airport on November 19 via a country where the variant was already detected. A 71-year-old man who came in close contact with the person started experiencing similar symptoms on November 23, subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the ministry, the S-gene was not found in both samples (S-gene target failure) when testing as required by the current strategy of testing the S-gene of those who tested positive for COVID-19. The new variant of COVID-19 Omicron was confirmed for the first time in Nepal on the night of December 5 when the gene sequencing of the two samples was found in the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Teku.
Both of them are isolated as per the criteria set by the Government of Nepal. “At present they have no symptoms and are being monitored by health workers,” said the ministry.
After extensive contact tracing of those who came in contact with the two persons, PCR tests of 66 contacts obtained from contact tracing revealed that all the results were negative.
The government has said that surveillance and contact tracing have been made more effective for monitoring Omicron in Nepal.
The ministry has urged all to adhere to all public health standards (proper use of masks, physical distance, non-congestion and hand washing, living in a well-ventilated area) and receive vaccines to prevent infection.