Suspected Omicron cases surface in Delhi, Jaipur; states issue revised restrictions | Top points

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A medical worker collects swab sample of a passenger for Covid-19 test


  • New suspected Omicron cases have surfaced in Delhi, Jaipur
  • 12 Omicron suspects have been admitted to LNJP hospital in Delhi
  • Top Indian genome scientists have recommended a booster dose of COVID-19

A day after two cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus were detected in Karnataka, the Health Ministry on Friday released a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the variant. The central government, in the FAQs, while responding to whether there is a possibility of a third wave of Covid infection, said that cases are increasingly being reported from countries outside of South Africa, and given its characteristics, it is likely to spread to more countries, including India. Various restrictions and measures at the airports such as stringent surveillance and testing measures have been put in place by various state governments.

New travel restrictions issued by states

Karnataka – Govt announced that it would be now compulsory to get both dose vaccination for entering malls, cinema halls, or theatres, and for parents of school or college-going students. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday chaired a meeting with experts, senior Ministers, and officials in this regard. Intensifying screening of international passengers at airports, asking educational institutions to postpone their public events, and limiting gatherings, meetings, conferences to 500 people, are among the other measures announced by the government. | READ MORE

Maharashtra – According to newly revised guidelines, all domestic passengers will either have to be fully vaccinated or should compulsorily carry RT-PCR Test negative report within 72 hours before boarding, said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday. Passengers arriving in the state from ‘at-risk’ countries must undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival, and should undergo a 7-day quarantine. A second RT-PCR test will be taken on the seventh day. If the second test comes out positive, the passenger will be shifted to a Covid treatment facility. If the test is negative, the individual will have to undergo further 7 days of home quarantine | READ MORE

West Bengal – The government on Friday directed that travellers from countries affected by Omicron to the state will be required to stay in isolation for seven days, a senior official said. Travellers flying in from other parts of the country will have to furnish their reports of RTPCR tests as the threat of Omicron, the COVID variant, looms across the world, he said. The direction was also given to keep a strict vigil on flyers from neighboring Bangladesh and Singapore, the official said after a meeting held by chief secretary H K Dwivedi and Airport Authorities officers during the day.

Delhi – Earlier this week, the Delhi government had designated the LNJP hospital for the treatment of patients infected with the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. According to the Centre, the countries designated as “at-risk” include the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel. Travellers from these “at-risk” countries are following additional measures on arrival in India from Tuesday midnight. Under the new norms, RT-PCR tests are mandatory for passengers arriving from the “at-risk” countries and they will be allowed to leave the airport only after the results come. Also, five percent of the passengers arriving on flights from other countries will be subject to the test randomly.

Jammu and Kashmir – Fresh guidelines were issued making rigorous screening and the Covid-19 RT-PCR test mandatory for foreign travellers at the Srinagar International Airport.

Tamil Nadu – Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said those returning from “high risk” countries have been asked to stay in home quarantine for a week on their arrival. After completing the one-week quarantine, they should take up RT-PCR testing again, and only after getting a negative report they would be asked to move around in public, he said.

Gujarat – The government has made RT-PCR tests mandatory for all those arriving from countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Mauritius, China, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, and New Zealand.

Jamnagar man who returned from Zimbabwe tests positive; govt traces 10 primary, 102 secondary contacts

A 72-year-old man tested Covid positive in Gujarat’s Jamnagar after his return from Zimbabwe, one of the ‘at risk’ countries identified by the authorities. Officials on Friday said that 10 primary and 102 secondary contacts were traced.

All the RTPCR tests that have been done will be done again after 7 days in self-isolation, they added.

WHO calls for strengthening response measures in South-East Asia

As India confirmed two cases of Omicron, the World Health Organization on Friday said countries in the South-East Asia Region should further strengthen COVID-19 response measures to curtail the spread of the virus and its variants.

“Strengthening surveillance to rapidly detect importation of any new variant and transmission of existing virus and its variants, implementing calibrated public health and social measures and scaling up vaccination coverage should continue to be our focus,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region, said in a statement.

INSACOG recommend booster dose for those above 40 | READ MORE

Top Indian genome scientists have recommended a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines for those above 40 years with preference to high-risk and high-exposure population.

The recommendation was made in the weekly bulletin of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Sequencing Consortium (INSACOG), a network of national testing labs set up by the government to monitor genomic variations of COVID-19.

“Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk / high-exposure may be considered,” the INSACOG bulletin said.

Nine of family test Covid positive in Jaipur

Nine members of a family tested positive for Covid-19 after four of them returned from South Africa just days ago, said officials on Friday. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing.

Those who returned from South Africa have been admitted to the hospital of the Rajasthan University of Health Sciences (RUHS) and swab samples of all nine people have been sent for genome sequencing to Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh Hospital, a health official said.

12 Omicron suspects admitted to LNJP hospital in Delhi | READ MORE

As many as 12 patients suspected to be infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been admitted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital in the national capital so far, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying.

Dr Suresh Kumar, MD LNJP Hospital in Delhi later stated that all patients, except one with mild symptoms, are stable.

Eight Omicron suspects were admitted to LNJP hospital yesterday, as per the sources. “Four suspects have been admitted today, out of which, two have been tested COVID-19 positive while the test results for the other two are awaited,” stated sources.

Of these four suspects, two have arrived from the UK, one from France and one from the Netherlands, sources added.

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