'Emergence of Omicron was inevitable', says South Africa President as COVID cases increase five-fold
Cyril Ramaphosa said the number of daily infections has increased five-fold in the past week, with nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 tests now returning positive.
Prof Salim Abdool-Kariman projected a dramatic rise in infections in the coming days but given the variant already surfaced in other countries, a travel ban will really be of little help.
The sample has been sent to a central government laboratory and the final information is awaited, Health and Medical Education Minister Dr. K Sudhakar said.
Covid 'Omicron' fears: Karnataka government asks Centre to ban passengers from South Africa, Hong Kong, Botswana
Karnataka CM Bommai said that an increase in Covid cases is being noticed among the paramedical staff and students who arrived from Kerala.
Pakistan bans travel from 6 African countries, Hong Kong amid concern over new Covid variant Omicron
However, Pakistani passengers travelling from these countries "on extreme emergency" will only be allowed after obtaining exemptions, the NCOC said.
"We must also be cautious about citizens travelling from other countries. We will check if they have received the vaccine and the RT-PCR test," Minister of Health and Family Welfare Zahid said.
Omicron was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.