CHENNAI: A 47-year-old man who had arrived from Nigeria, along with six of his family members a few days ago, has tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, marking the first such case being reported in Tamil Nadu, according to the State Minister Ma Subramanian.
The passenger who arrived here from Nigeria via Doha on December 10 had tested Covid-19 positive and six of his family members too had tested positive for the virus, the Minister for Medical and Family Welfare said.
The passenger, along with his family members who were asymptomatic, were admitted to The King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Chennai and were "doing fine".
"In the initial level of testing of their sampling, there was S-gene drop raising the suspicion of being infected by Omicron. Now, we have the received the results sent from the National Institute of Virology. The passenger has tested positive for Omicron," Subramanian told reporters.
"With the result of the passenger confirmed, we suspect six of his family members, along with a 16-year-old child, also to be positive (for Omicron). We received the result confirming Omicron variant of the passenger few minutes back," he said.
Elaborating, Subramanian said a 42-year-old passenger from Chennai, who had travelled with the seven-member family taking the similar route from Nigeria via Doha, tested Covid-19 positive and also has the S-gene drop raising the suspicion of being infected by Omicron variant of coronavirus.
"The passenger who was under home quarantine is now on his way to get admitted to the King Institute. He is asymptomatic and doing well," he said.
To a query, the Minister said all the eight passengers were vaccinated and were "doing fine" and it was because of this reason they were asymptomatic and were having cold, cough and light fever.
He attributed the intense screening of passengers at the four international ariports in Tamil Nadu to the detection of the Omicron variant in the State.
"All the passengers arriving from high-risk countries undergo RTPCR sampling tests while those passengers who arrive from non-risk countries are put to random sampling," he said.
Till now, 41 people who arrived from high-risk and non-risk countries have tested Covid-19 positive, he said.
"These passengers have tested positive for Delta variant of coronavirus. The eight people who had arrived from Nigeria with the S-gene drop were isolated and their samples were sent to National Institute of Virology to ascertain the sample. Today, we received the first result of a passenger who has tested positive for Omicron variant", he said.
Health secretary J Radhakrishnan said the main request on behalf of the government in this kind of situation to the people is that they should adhere to wearing of a facial mask, getting vaccinated and adhering to the basic Covid-19 protocols at public places.
"Chief Minister ( M K Stalin) has issued orders and we have directed the district hospitals to strengthen the health infrastructure. There is no necessity to panic (due to Omicron variant), it is time for people to extend their cooperation by following the Covid-19 protocols", he said.
"We have more than one lakh beds readily available and oxygen tank capacity level was at 1,400 metric tonne at the hospitals. We have stepped up our efforts to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the State", Subramanian said.