The Odisha government has sent 246 samples including those from returnees of high-risk countries for genome sequencing amid countywide scare of new Omicron variant of the virus, have tested COVID-19 positive, in the latest cause of worry for the State’s pandemic managers.
“The samples drawn provided to us by the State are being subjected to genome sequencing to ascertain whether the samples carry Omicron variant of the virus. The clinical diagnostic reports of these samples are expected on Friday”, Ajay Parida, Director of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar said on Tuesday.
The genome sequencing of at least 141 samples, which include the overseas returnees, have already been conducted. However, no sample was found to be the carrier of the Omicron variant. The genetic changes/mutation in viruses is a natural phenomenon and people should not get alarmed”, he added.
Meanwhile, the health authorities of the State government confided that 320 overseas returnees from high-risk countries are still untraceable. They might have furnished the wrong place of nativity and wrong mobile numbers. The district health authorities have moved to locate them for carrying out RT-PCR tests, he said.
The revised rules for international returnees have been revised by the health ministry. It pertains to the self-declaration form on Air Suvidha Portal, details designation address for contact tracing, details of all travellers to be shared with concerned authorities and random sampling for RT-PCR tests from countries not “at-risk”. Over 800 have returned to the State from the Omicron-hit African countries.