Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid growing concern over spread of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV- 2 in the world, Odisha has so far reported seven foreign returnees with Covid-19 positive results. 

Odisha Health Services Director Bijay Mohapatra on Sunday informed that the genome sequencing reports of four samples out of the seven cases have come out negative for Omicron. The rest three samples have been sent for genome sequencing. 

Mohapatra said that the predictions on spread of Omicron cases made by different models are based on statistics. As per the IIT model, lack of immunity would result in the State reporting 1.5lakh positive cases a day in case virus resurges," said Mohapatra. 

“Surveillance is the best weapon with which we can win the battle against coronavirus. We can never bring Covid-19 infection cases to zero. But early detection and subsequent treatment can reduce the numer of positive cases,” he added. 

“Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the Omicron variant is comparatively more contagious. Unlike in cases of Delta or other Covid variants, the condition of Omicron-infected patients is not turning out to be severe. The number of cases of hospitalisation and oxygen dependency is not also increasing. But we shouldn’t feel complacent. The government is constantly monitoring the situation. In case a returnee escapes our surveillance system or anyone having developed symptoms, people should voluntarily come forward and report about them,” he further added. 

“Taking factors like the elections ahead, opening of educational institutions, number of positive cases and positivity rate into consideration, restrictions would be imposed as per the Central government’s guidelines in the coming days,” said the top health official.