India announced on Thursday that it had detected the first two cases of the contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, a few months after a devastating wave of infections left more than 200,000 dead in the country.

Two men, aged 66 and 46, tested positive in the southern state of Karnataka, a senior health official Luv Agarwal declared at a press conference.

“As the protocol indicates, all their primary and secondary contacts have been contacted and are undergoing tests,” the official said.

India It has not yet imposed new barriers to international travel, but on Monday the Health Ministry ordered that all travelers from “risk countries” must undergo mandatory tests, in addition to the random tests applied to arrivals.

The country’s largest city, Mumbai, imposed a mandatory seven-day quarantine on all passengers from high-risk countries.

The omicron variant, which was first discovered in southern Africa, represents a new challenge to global efforts to combat the pandemic and several countries have reimposed restrictions.

Ómicron is the last adaptation of the coronavirus detected since the beginning of the pandemic, during which the virus also generated the delta variant, which was detected for the first time in India in October 2020.

On India More than 200,000 people died during a devastating wave that hit the country between April and June, which overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

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