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India confirms first two cases of Omicron
Health ministry official says the cases were confirmed in southern Karnataka state while contacts were being traced.
India has become the latest country to report cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant as regulators in the United Kingdom have given the green light for the use of a monoclonal therapy, called sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The news came as South Korea’s daily coronavirus case numbers rose to a new high with authorities halting quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travellers for two weeks in a bid to fend off the new variant.
Meanwhile, in the United States, fears over the effect of the new coronavirus strain have risen after it reported its first case in a fully vaccinated person in California. The case returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later.
In South Africa, where scientists detected the Omicron variant last week, new infections doubled in a day signalling a dramatic surge in the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said data on how contagious Omicron is should be available “within days”, while the Japanese central bank warned of economic pain as countries tighten containment measures.