Omicron patients to be treated in designated area: Health Ministry

States directed to enhance testing and tracking

Updated - December 08, 2021 11:02 pm IST

Published - December 08, 2021 08:32 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Photo used for representation purpose only.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday directed States to ensure that all cases that have tested positive for Omicron should be treated at designated COVID-19 facilities with a separate isolation area marked only for patients with the new variant.

Directing State Health Departments to ensure that no cross infection takes place, the Ministry said in its letter signed by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan that adequate precautions have to be taken by healthcare workers to prevent transmission between them and other patients.

States have also been told to quickly track the primary and secondary contacts of positive cases on “mission mode”, and test them. “It is critical to track all contacts of such cases, quarantine them without delay, and test them as per the guidelines,” Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary, said in a letter.

He has also suggested that States can utilise the e-Sanjeevani telemedicine platform, call centres, and plan home visits by special teams to the contacts under home isolation and quarantine.

Omicron-positive patients have been reported in Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan.

The Government has asked States to keep a close watch on new clusters of COVID-19 positive cases, vaccination breakthrough cases, and reinfection cases, and ensure prompt investigation of such events by their rapid response teams. “They should send all positive samples from these events to designated genome sequencing labs of INSACOG,” Mr. Bhushan added.

The Health Ministry has also said that it would be difficult to determine the true level of infection spread in the absence of sufficient testing. States have to be on guard due to the onset of winter, increased pollution in some parts of the country, and the prevalence of influenza and severe and acute respiratory illnesses.

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