BHUBANESWAR: Odisha government on Thursday made seven-day home isolation mandatory for all 380 foreign returnees who had landed in the State before November 30 amidst detection of Omicron variant in Karnataka.
All the returnees from nine districts of the State were from ‘at risk’ countries flagged by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry. The Centre has put 26 countries in the ‘at risk’ bracket where the new highly contagious variant has been detected.
“As per protocol set by the Centre, all returnees should have undergone tests at the landing airports. Since we are not sure whether they underwent RT-PCR tests, districts have been asked to ensure that the returnees are home quarantined for a week,” said a senior health official.
The State government has, so far, received a list of 380 travellers who returned from overseas between November 28 and 29. While 224 returnees arrived here on November 28, the rest 156 persons landed on November 29.
The Health and Family Welfare department shared the list of international travellers with the districts after receiving their details from the Centre and asked to designate district public health officers and urban public health officers as nodal officers for Omicron surveillance.
The Collectors and Municipal Commissioners have been directed to track the returnees and check their test details by Friday. The department has also issued a fresh guideline for air passengers mandating quarantine, tests and genome sequencing of positive cases.
Director of Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra said, the returnees will be traced by a designated team and the district rapid response team will follow up with each international passenger, collect RT-PCR negative report and report to the State Surveillance Unit.
“If any passenger is found not tested at the time of arrival, then immediate step will be taken for collection of sample and RT-PCR test. If passengers are tested negative, they will be home quarantined for seven days and asked to undergo RT-PCR test on eighth day. If found positive, he/she will be hospitalised and self-observation for another seven days if found negative,” he added.
380 foreign returnees asked to undergo 7-day home isolation
Although no foreign returnee has tested positive so far, the State has started sequencing of positive samples collected from recent clusters at different educational institutions in Odisha to ascertain whether any new variant has emerged. Health experts said since severity caused by Omicron variantis not known, unvaccinated, elderly and people with comorbidities and single dose vaccine are at risk.
The State has around 31 lakh single dose recipients who have been urged to get their second shot at the earliest. Meanwhile, BMC Commissioner and Jharsuguda Collector have been asked to ensure provision of RT-PCR test facility at Biju Patnaik International Airport and Veer Surendra Sai Airport.