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Odishatv Bureau

Even though no one has tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19 virus in Odisha so far, a fear has gripped the State after 40 per cent of the total foreign returnees from ‘At-Risk countries’ went untraceable.

According to the State Health Department, more than 800 non-resident Odias (NROs) have already landed in Odisha from several Omicron-hit countries. Out of them, the government does not have information about 320 returnees, which constitutes nearly 40 per cent of the total arrivals.

Some returnees have entered wrong address and contact information in Air Suvidha portal while some others even furnished the addresses of other states.

However, none from those identified and traced so far have tested positive, informed the Health Department.

“I urge people arriving from ‘At-Risk countries’ to get tested and stay in isolation to restrict the spread of the virus,” said Director, Public Health Niranjan Mishra.

Meanwhile, samples of around 246 persons, who tested positive for the virus after November 29, have been sent for genome sequencing, informed Ajay Parida, Director of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar on Monday.

According to Parida, the RT-PCR samples of the 246 persons from different districts were collected for genome sequencing to ascertain and detect if they were infected with the new Omicron variant of the virus.

“Earlier, genome sequencing of 141 samples was conducted and the presence of Omicron variant was not detected. Samples of 246 others, who have tested positive for Covid-19, have been received from different districts for genome sequencing,” said Parida.

As per protocol, RT-PCR test of the samples will be conducted for a second time before carrying out the genome sequencing of the samples to detect the Omicron strain. The samples whose CT value is less than 28 will be picked for genome sequencing, Parida added.

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