Suspense over Omicron’s entry into Telangana continues

Unaware of the looming Omicron threat and compulsory mask rule, a woman, with her baby in her arms, wanders in the city to seek alms.   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

When Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao called a press conference on Sunday afternoon, it appeared as though one’s worst fears had come true.

Samples of 13 COVID-positive air passengers, who landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport earlier this week, had been sent for genome sequencing to confirm the presence of Omicron, the new variant of concern, and the reports were supposed to take about three days. One assumed that the press conference would finally put all suspicions to rest. However, the suspense continues as Dr Srinivasa Rao told reporters that the genome sequencing results were expected only on Sunday night or Monday.

The media bulletin issued by the Health department on Sunday evening also mentioned that the genome sequencing results of the 13 samples were awaited.

The department started surveillance at the airport from December 1.

979 incoming flyers

A total of 979 international travellers have arrived here from 11 ‘at-risk’ countries. RT-PCR tests were conducted on all of them and 13 tested positive for COVID.

Of the 13 samples, one was sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, and the remaining 12 to Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics for genome sequencing. Both labs are located in the city.

Listing out the countries and States in India where Omicron variant was detected, the senior health official said that it would not be surprising if the variant is detected in Hyderabad in the coming days.

Those who have tested positive have been isolated at Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences in Gachibowli. Their health condition is normal and they are asymptomatic so far.

Retest on passengers

The international flyers who have tested negative have been instructed to remain in home quarantine for 14 days. Another round of tests will be performed on them on December 8, the eighth day since their arrival.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 2:55:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/suspense-over-omicrons-entry-into-state-continues/article37858903.ece

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