CHENNAI: Those testing positive with the new COVID-19 strain from the United Kingdom have to undergo a second test within 14 days of admission, according to a new discharge policy released by the Union Health Ministry.
If the patient tests positive on day 14, further samples must be taken until two consecutive samples taken 24 hours apart are negative.
“All the passengers with travel history would have to be put in a separate isolation facility, away from the other COVID patients,” says the SoP, directing all the states to follow it.
The states have also been mandated to send samples to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for genomic sequencing, to identify the strains.
Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said the King’s Institute has a separate wing for COVID patients and officials are waiting for the genome results of the five patients to arrive.
“We of course have to wait for the results of the genomic sequence from Pune. The discharge policy will depend on that,” he told The New Indian Express. “All the districts will have exclusive isolation facilities,” he added.
The SoP further instructs states to ensure all passengers traveling from or transiting through UK airports be subjected only to RTPCR tests. “In case of a positive test, it is recommended that the spike gene-based RTPCR test is performed in an appropriate laboratory,” adds the SoP.
If a person does not have the new strain and is found positive with the current SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, they may undergo the ongoing treatment protocol which includes home isolation depending on the severity.
Those who are found negative at the airport on arrival too shall remain in home quarantine and will be followed up by officials.
Presently, TN has identified close to 2,400 flyers who returned to the state in the past month and about 1,200 samples were lifted. Five have turned positive out of the 400 results which have arrived.