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Odisha to screen travellers from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana for new Covid variant

The new variant has over 30 mutations in spike protein most of which are of concern for immune evasion and transmissibility.

Published: 27th November 2021 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2021 09:04 AM   |  A+A-

Covid test, Coronavirus

The rising trend has been witnessed in at least six districts Khurda, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Puri and Jajpur. (File Photo | Ashishkrishna HP, EPS)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: With emergence of new and potentially most dangerous variant of coronavirus putting nations on alert,  the Odisha government has also decided to go for screening and testing of all passengers arriving from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, which have reported such infections.

Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Dr Rama Raman Mohanty said, “As visa restrictions were relaxed recently following the opening up of international travel, there is every possibility that the new variant may come through travellers from these countries. As per the advisory, travellers from the three countries will be screened and kept in isolation for 10 days,” he said.

The State government has a standard protocol for international travellers arriving at Bhubaneswar airport, where vaccination certificate and RT-PCR reports of arriving persons are being checked, he said. Since there is no scientific research finding regarding the transmission rate and severity of the new variant, Dr Mohanty said, extra caution needs to be undertaken along with increased surveillance, testing and isolation measures.

The new variant of SARS-CoV2 - B.1.1.529 has been identified in South Africa and become the dominant strain there leaving the scientific community worried as they fear it could fuel the third wave and cripple health systems once again. The variant has over 30 mutations in spike protein most of which are of concern for immune evasion and transmissibility.

Meanwhile, Odisha has been recording a rise in new cases for last few days. The State reported 219 cases in last 24 hours pushing the active cases to 2,163. As many as 335 cases were detected on Wednesday and 288 on Tuesday.

The rising trend has been witnessed in at least six districts Khurda, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Puri and Jajpur. With 96 cases Khurda topped the list, followed by 15 in Cuttack and 10 each in Sundargarh and Sambalpur. The death toll rose to 8,403 after two more patients succumbed to the disease.



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