Nepal on Monday reported the first two cases of omicron variant of coronavirus in the Himalayan country.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that a 66-year-old foreign national who arrived by air on Nov. 19 and a 71-year-old person who was in contact with the tourist tested positive for the omicron variant, daily Kathmandu Post reported.
Both people are being quarantined under the supervision of a medical team.
Tests of 66 people, who had contact with the two confirmed cases, turned negative, authorities said.
Nepal has recorded over 918,000 virus-related cases to date, with the nationwide death toll standing at 11,541.
Only 28.6% of the country’s population have been fully vaccinated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 26 declared the new strain “a variant of concern,” and named it omicron.
The WHO warned that the novel variant has a large number of mutations, some of which provoke concern as they may affect the effectiveness of vaccines.
South African scientists on Nov. 24 announced that they had discovered the variant, which has several mutations. Cases of the variant have since been found in a number of countries worldwide./aa