Covid-19 screening at three Andhra airports from December 1 amid Omicron variant threat

According to sources in the department, the State is set to have its own Covid-19 whole genome sequencing laboratory at Siddhartha Medical College in Vijayawada by the first week of December. 

Published: 28th November 2021 08:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2021 08:30 AM   |  A+A-

Swab samples been collected from the passengers who arrived at Chennai Airport International Airport. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

A six-member team from the health department has been sent to the CCMB for training in genome sequencing. (Representational Photo)

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA:  With the Centre issuing an alert to all the States in the wake of rising global concerns over Omicron, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to screen international passengers arriving at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati airports from December 1. 

The Medical and Health Department will set up special screening centres at the three airports by Wednesday. At the same time, it will alert the vast network of village/ward volunteers in the State to closely monitor the arrival of people from abroad. The Centre has already advised the States to strengthen surveillance of international air travellers.

According to a senior medical and health official, all the international passengers, particularly from those countries which are designated ‘at risk’, will be screened for Covid-19 by conducting RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) and RT-PCR test. Results of RAT are available within a few minutes, while RT-PCR test results can be obtained in six hours. 

“Samples of those who tested positive, will be sent for Covid-19 whole genome sequencing to verify if they have any mutated variant like Omicron, delta and delta plus. Those who tested positive will be kept in isolation in hospital. Those who tested negative, will be allowed to go and advised to restrict their movements for 9-10 days,” the senior official told The New Indian Express

According to sources in the department, the State is set to have its own Covid-19 whole genome sequencing laboratory at Siddhartha Medical College in Vijayawada by the first week of December. 
The lab is being set up in coordination with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and it is sponsored by the State Bank of India.

A six-member team from the health department has been sent to the CCMB for training in genome sequencing. At present, RT-PCR test samples are being sent to the CCMB from 14 test centres in the State for genome sequencing. The State recorded 248 new cases and 253 recoveries on Saturday. 



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