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Sharmili Mallick

A day after two cases of Omicron variant of Coronavirus were reported from Karnataka, Odisha’s Public Health Director Dr Niranjan Mishra said on Friday that the State Government has taken adequate measures to combat the outbreak of the new strain.

Briefing media in Bhubaneswar Mishra said, “The Centre has provided us with a list of the people arriving in the State from outside countries. The Health Department has handed over the data of the travellers to the concerned district administrations for surveillance.”

“People returning from foreign countries will have to undergo Covid-19 test at the airport. Even if the traveller tests negative, s/he will have to be in home quarantine for seven days. They will be examined again on the eighth day. If the person in isolation is tested positive, the samples will be sent to the laboratory for genome sequencing,” informed Mishra.

As many as 380 people have returned to Odisha from countries hit by the new coronavirus strain-- Omicron, earlier this week, and all of them have tested negative, the State health department had informed on Thursday.

A total of 224 people returned on Monday while 156 came to the State on Tuesday, the Health Department had said.

Mishra also allayed fears over the transmission of the highly mutated variant of Covid-19 and said that people should not be afraid. Rather, they should remain alert and act responsibly.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sought time to study Omicron to better understand the transmissibility, severity of infection (including symptoms), performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and effectiveness of treatments. After the assessment studies are over, the deadliness of the mutated variant will be known,” stated Mishra.

“As per available reports, though the variant is rapidly spreading and it’s evident from that fact that it has touched 29 countries in 10 days, deaths due to the mutated variant have not increased, particularly in South Africa where the strain originated. Therefore, there is no need to panic but people should remain cautious. The State government has taken adequate measures to prevent the variant from entering the State,” claimed the Public Health Director.

On the vaccination drive in the State, Mishra informed around 85 per cent of the beneficiaries have received the first dose of the vaccine while the target of 100 per cent vaccination coverage for the first dose will be achieved soon.

Meanwhile, the two persons who have been tested positive with the Omicron variant are two males, aged 66 and 46 in Karnataka. 

According to the Bengaluru civic authorities, the 66-year-old foreigner had come to Bengaluru city on November 20 from South Africa, while the 46-year-old is a health worker from Bengaluru. The foreigner was fully vaccinated, while the other had received one dose.

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