Five international Covid positive passengers unlikely to have Omicron variant, says TN Health Secretary

Health Secretary says no S-gene drop out in their samples but sequencing will be done

Published: 06th December 2021 04:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2021 04:32 AM   |  A+A-

Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan

Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan (File| EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: With one more international traveller testing positive for Covid-19, the total number of travellers testing positive rose to six at the Chennai airport on Sunday. The screening was intensified due to the fear of the Omicron variant spread.

Speaking to reporters, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said there is no S-gene drop out in the samples of five Covid-19-positive international travellers. So, there is little chance of these passengers having contracted the Omicron variant. However, their samples have been sent for genome sequencing.

The Health Secretary said there are a number of studies going on to know about the transmissibility, severity, characteristics, and potential reinfection of the variant. It will take some more days to know about the variant fully.

Meanwhile, one more passenger, a 42-year-old Singapore returnee, tested positive for the virus upon arrival at the Madurai airport on Saturday. According to sources in the Health Department, the man, a native of Nagercoil in the Kanniyakumari district, reached Madurai from Singapore through Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was asymptomatic and admitted to Kanniyakumari Government Medical College Hospital. 

Sources said his family members have been quarantined. The patient’s swab sample has been sent to the State Public Health Laboratory for genome sequencing. An official stated that no drop-out of S-gene was observed in the sample, thus making it unlikely he is infected with the Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, of the 1.29 lakh houses in villages across TN, there is no positive case in 1.27 lakh houses. Of the 1.27 lakh streets here, there is no case on 1.25 lakh streets. The test positivity rate is 1.4 per cent in Namakkal, Tiruppur and Chengalpattu.

In Coimbatore and Salem, it is 1.3 per cent and in Chennai, Erode, Karur, and Tiruvallur, it is 0.9 per cent.Special focus is being given to these districts. People need not panic but should follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, Radhakrishnan said.


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