No Case Of ‘Omicron’ Variant Detected In India

Story Highlights
  • No Omicron Cases in India.
  • Omicron is highly transmissible virus strain that poses a "very high" global risk.
  • The countries 'at-risk' is Europe, UK, South Africa, China.

New Delhi: No case of COVID19 variant Omicron reported in India so far, said Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour. Speaking in the Upper House on Tuesday, Mandaviya assured that the government is taking all possible precautions including screening of international passengers at airports and doing genome sequencing.  “This new variant has been found in 14 countries. There is no case of Omicron in India yet. We are taking all possible precautions and doing genome sequencing as well”, the Health Minister said.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan met with senior officials to underline the fact Omicron does not, at this time, escape detection from existing Covid tests, including (crucially) the cheaper and faster antigen tests that experts have said often return a false negative. Last week Mr Bhushan wrote to state and UT governments to stress on rigorous surveillance of international passengers and ensure the prompt dispatch of samples for genome sequencing as well as strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a ‘variant of concern’, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants. Earlier on Sunday, the Centre had introduced stricter guidelines for people travelling from or transiting through ‘at-risk’ countries and issued a slew of directions to the states for ramping up testing-surveillance measures and health facilities. It had also decided to review the resumption of international flights. The countries designated as ‘at-risk’ include European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

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