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Pradeep Pattanayak

In the backdrop of the Indian Medical Association's warning of a massive third wave of Covid pandemic, people in Odisha have set their eyes on the result of genome sequencing reports of 246 Covid positive patients in the State. 

At a time when the number of Omicron positive cases in the country is increasing with each passing day, people in Odisha are in fear and apprehension even though the State is yet to report any cases of the new variant of the SARS-CoV-2. 

Their fear is not unfounded. As per the data available with the Health Department, so far, many of the people who have returned from foreign countries especially from 'at-risk' countries have gone incommunicado due to providing wrong phone numbers and addresses, 246 samples of Covid-19 positive patients including some foreign returnees have been sent for their genome sequencing. 

Meanwhile, the people of the State are waiting for the results of the reports with bated breath. 

On the other hand, Health Services Director Dr Bijoy Mohapatra urged the foreign returnees to voluntarily come forward and inform about the travel history to the respective district administrations. He also advised people not to fear the new variant but at the same time urged all not to lower guard against the virus. 

“Our efforts are on to trace out those untraceable foreign returnees. Search is underway at micro levels in all the districts. Our aim is to touch one and all who have returned from foreign countries,” said Mohapatra. 

Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Dr Rama Raman Mohanty informed that the genome sequencing reports of 246 Covid patients will come on Friday. 

Meanwhile, the Omicron concern has gone up manifold with several educational institutions reporting more Covid-19 positive cases with each passing day. Two residential schools in Angul and Jajpur districts are good examples. As many as 19 students of these two institutions have tested positive for Covid-19 recently. 

“The infected students have been isolated and they are undergoing treatment. Their samples have also been sent for genome sequencing,” informed Angul Collector Siddhartha Shankar Swain. 

When contacted, Jajpur district Collector Chakravarty Singh Rathore said test is going on at all residential schools in the district on a regular basis. "In case, anyone tests positive for the virus, immediate treatment is being provided to them," he said.

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