Omicron and its sub-lineages are the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants in India, the government informed Rajya Sabha on March 14.
During the last four months, more than 1,900 Omicron sub-variants have been detected among the samples analysed by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) across the country, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.
Given the emergence of variants of the COVID-19 virus with variable transmissibility and their possible health implications, INSACOG network laboratories conducts whole genome sequencing of samples for detection of mutant variants of the virus.
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In light of the increasing trajectory of COVID-19 cases noted in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Japan, an additional requirement of pre-departure testing and uploading of negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test reports and self-health declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal was made mandatory in the past for travellers coming from or transiting via these countries, Mr. Pawar said.
However, based on declining COVID-19 trajectory in these countries, an updated guideline was issued on February 10, wherein the additional requirements were dropped.
Overall, 2% of the total passengers in all incoming international flights are required to undergo post-arrival COVID-19 testing, irrespective of port of departure to monitor positive cases and their variants, the minister said.