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Omicron worry: Odisha govt alerts districts on possible third wave, asks officials to remain prepared

Development Commissioner PK Jena stressed on door-to-door vaccination drive. He directed officials to go for strict enforcement of Covid guidelines and take stern action against the violators.

Published: 28th November 2021 07:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2021 07:57 PM   |  A+A-

airport, Covid 19

(For representational purposes) Passengers arriving in Ranchi show Covid-19 double vaccination certificates to airport officials on Saturday (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha government on Sunday sounded an alert for a possible third wave and made quarantine of foreign returnees mandatory in view of the detection of the new Covid variant Omicron in at least eight countries.

Emphasising on proper screening and RT-PCR test of all foreign travellers to prevent the virus from entering the State, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra asked all Collectors to ensure genome sequencing of Covid positive samples of people from high-risk countries.

"As educational institutions have reopened and economic activities resumed after relaxation of lockdown norms and decline in new cases, we need to be more vigilant to prevent the next wave. The new variant has also fueled the apprehension of a possible spread if not checked at the earliest," he told officials during a video conference on Sunday.

The Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and CDMOs have been directed to reactivate the system and engage all ward and village level healthcare workers to collect information on returnees and mobilise unvaccinated people to take their shots as early as possible.

Since the State has a reporting mechanism ready for obtaining past travel details of passengers coming through international flights, district officials have been instructed to review it regularly and follow the protocol provided by the Ministry of Health including testing on disembarkation of international travelers coming from 'at risk' countries.

Additional Chief Secretary of Health RK Sharma said special attention is being given to passengers arriving at the Biju Patnaik International Airport. Apart from enhancing the RT-PCR testing to aid in early identification, focus will be on monitoring hotspots where recent cluster of positive cases have emerged.

"The officials will have to ensure saturation testing in hotspots and sending of positive samples for genome sequencing besides ensuring strictly implementation of containment measures," he said.

Development Commissioner PK Jena stressed on door-to-door vaccination drive. He directed officials to go for strict enforcement of Covid guidelines and take stern action against the violators.

Director of Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra said all foreign returnees, especially the travellers coming from high risk countries, will have to remain in quarantine for 14 days. Though the central guideline says 10-day quarantine, isolation for two weeks will be the safest to prevent the spread of virus, he added.



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