Nepal has detected its first two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

According to the Ministry, a 66-year-old foreigner (male) and a 71-year-old Nepali national (male), who had come in contact with the foreigner, tested positive for the Omicron variant. The Ministry also said that both of them had received full dose of anti-COVID vaccine and had entered Nepal with negative PCR reports.

Stating that both of them were kept in isolation at a hospital and did not show any serious symptoms, the Ministry added that it had contact-traced everyone who had been with the two.

The Ministry also informed that the foreign national had entered Nepal through the Tribhuvan International Airport on November 19 from a country where the new variant has been detected. The 71-year-old Nepali man had tested positive for COVID on November 23.

However, Nepali authorities were able to conform Omicron’s detection only on Sunday during the gene sequencing of samples collected from the duo at the National Public Health Laboratory.

The B1.1.529 variant of the COVID-19, first seen in South Africa on November 24, was named Omicron by the World Health Organization on November 26, calling it a ‘variant of concern’.

So far, this variant has spread to 39 countries in the world, including India and Sri Lanka in South Asia. This variant has been confirmed in 21 people in India.