Omicron variant: Wary states reach for alert button

The new variant of coronavirus called Omicron (B.1.1.529) is yet to be traced in India, but states are already on alert.

Published: 28th November 2021 09:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2021 09:11 AM   |  A+A-

airport, Covid 19

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

The new variant of coronavirus called Omicron (B.1.1.529) is yet to be traced in India, but states are already on alert. Governments and health departments have started sending out messages to expedite the vaccination process and pay attention to Covid-appropriate behaviour. Some of them have also initiated the process of genome sequencing in order to trace the new variant.

Cases are rising in Madhya Pradesh and 12 tested positive in Indore in 24 hours, including eight from two families. The state government is keeping an eye on developments. “We’re getting genome sequencing of samples of COVID patients done. So far, there is no case of the new variant in MP,” said the state’s Medical Education Minister Vishvas Sarang. “We’re working on all COVID-related directions and advisories of the Centre.”

Uttar Pradesh has advised screening of all international travellers. “This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations and thus has a serious public health implication for the country in view of the recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel,” said a notification by UP’s Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare.

“We are vigilant and prepared for any such variant. Instructions have been issued to ensure strict compliance with protocols and safety measures in public places,” said Alok Shukla, Health Secretary of Chhattisgarh. He didn’t rule out tracking and testing travellers from outside the state.


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