Jharkhand has a serious cause of concern as two people in its neighbour Odisha have tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19.

These are the first cases of the latest version of coronavirus in the state, it is learnt.

Bhubaneswar-based Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) today confirmed the existence of the variant in the two patients after conducting the genome sequencing of 12 samples.

Both of them have travel history to foreign nations - Nigeria and Qatar, respectively.

The returnee from the African country is fully vaccinated, and is stable in hospital, Cuttack District COVID-19 Nodal Officer Umesh Ray said.

All his contacts have tested negative, he added.

The other patient is also stable in hospital.

Since the outbreak of the latest variant, 8,800 people arrived in Odisha from different countries, including 1,600 from at-risk nations, the officials said. 

It was expected that omicron would make its way to Odisha. However, there is no need to panic as the new variant has mild symptoms on the patients.

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