Kerala

Enhanced surveillance against Omicron: Veena

Kerala has taken all precautions for enhanced disease surveillance now that the presence of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron has been confirmed in many world nations, Health Minister Veena George has said.

All precautions have been taken in line with the directives issued by the Centre. Surveillance is being stepped up at all four international airports in the State and all international travellers, especially those coming from Europe, United Kingdom, and 11 other nations deemed to be at “high risk”, will be put under surveillance.

The travellers coming into the State from these nations will have to undergo RT-PCR testing at the airports as soon as they land and they will have to go on quarantine for seven days, even if they test negative for COVID-19.

They will have to do an RT-PCR test again on day eight and be on self-observation mode for another seven days.

In case any of these travellers tests positive for COVID-19, he/she will be isolated in a separate ward and treated, Ms. George said.

The State has been continuously doing genomic sequencing surveillance since the past one year. In the new situation, 5% of random samples from travellers from nations other than the “high-risk” countries will also be sent for genomic sequencing, as directed by the Centre.

In general, all international travellers coming into the State will have to be in self-observation and isolation mode for seven days, she added.

The Health Department has posted more staff at the airports now to enable the enhanced surveillance and testing. While there was no need to press panic buttons now, people should continue to maintain all universal precautions against COVID-19 – masking, physical distancing and avoiding crowding – strictly and those who have not completed their vaccination against COVID-19 should do so without delay.

At present, over 96% have completed the first dose vaccination and close to 64% have been fully vaccinated. With the help of local bodies, health workers at the grassroots level were trying to directly get in touch with those who are due for the second dose and trying to expedite the uptake of the second dose.

Ms. George said the State had already started its preparations in hospitals to meet any exigency that might arise out of a third wave and, as part of this exercise, almost all hospitals had become self-sufficient as far as oxygen requirement was concerned.

In the case of the infant earths at Attappady, the Health Department and the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Tribes were jointly working to improve the facilities at the Kottathara Tribal Specialty Hospital for giving better care for mothers and children, she said.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 11:57:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/enhanced-surveillance-against-omicron-veena/article37757991.ece

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