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Sri Lankan health officials have confirmed the first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the country today (03).

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath said that a Sri Lankan national who had returned from South Africa has been confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant.

The case was detected at the Hospinorm Laboratory Lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) that was set up to facilitate PCR testing for arrivals from overseas.

Barely a week has elapsed since scientists in Botswana and South Africa alerted the world to a fast-spreading new SARS-CoV-2 variant now known as Omicron.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Omicron poses a "high infection risk".


India reports first cases of new Covid variant


More than 44,000 tourists including Indian nationals have arrived in Sri Lanka in the month of November after the country re-opened its borders for tourists.

Two men in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant, the BBC reported.

These are the first cases of the new Omicron variant to be reported in India.