Amid Omicron scare, two international travellers test positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu
A 56-year-old man who came from Singapore at 3.30am on Friday tested positive at Trichy airport, while a 10-year-old girl returning from the UK with her family tested positive at the Chennai airport
CHENNAI: Amid the Omicron scare, two international travellers who came to Tamil Nadu tested postive for COVID-19 and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing to find out if they are infected with the new variant.
A 56-year-old man who came from Singapore at 3.30am on Friday tested positive at Trichy airport, while a 10-year-old girl who returned from the United Kingdom with her family tested positive at the Chennai airport.
The man was isolated at K A P Viswanathan Government Medical College Hospital in Trichy, while the girl and her family members were isolated at the Government Corona Hospital in King Institute, Guindy, said Health Minister Ma Subramanian, speaking to reporters at the DMS campus on Friday.
"Their samples will be genome sequenced at the State Public Health Laboratory, Chennai, and for double confirmation, they will be send to InStem, Bangalore. Only after genome sequencing will we know if the travellers were infected with the Omicron variant. It will take a week to get the results," said Subramanian.
The minister also urged people not to spread rumours on social media that two Omicron variant cases were detected in Tamil Nadu and that the new variant has reached the state. It is a sensitive issue, so people on social media should behave responsibly and should not create panic, he said.
Subramanian said exclusive wards with 30 to 40 beds were opened in six government hospitals including Government Omandurar Medical College, Corona Hospital in King Institute, Guindy, and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.
International travellers who tested positive for COVID-19 will be admitted to these exclusive wards and treated as per the treatment protocol, the minister said.
The minister also ruled out any new inter-state restrictions in the wake of new Omicron variant cases reported in Karnataka.
He also said, whatever the variant, following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour like social distancing, wearing masks and getting vaccinated will help to protect people.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the delta variant is still active and dominant in the state so people should be cautious and at the same time there is no need to panic about the new variant.
Regarding the booster dose, the Health Secretary said it will be given if the Union government gives approval for it.
The Health Minister said the state achieved nearly 80 percent coverage of the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines and 45 percent coverage of the second dose. Around 80 lakh people have to take the second dose.
Saying that the state will hold its 13th COVID mega vaccination camp on Saturday (4 December), the minister urged the people to utilise this opportunity and get vaccinated.