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Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid growing concerns over Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19, international travellers arriving at Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar as well as Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda are being strictly monitored under the new guidelines of the Airports Authority of India and the Health department's pandemic protocols. 

Informing about the measures taken by Jharsuguda district administration in this regard, District Collector Saroj Samal said, “We are collecting details about the fliers coming to the district from foreign countries especially from high-risk African nations which have been earmarked by the State and Central governments during last 14 days.”

“In case any passenger manages to evade RT-PCR test at international airports and arrives at Veer Surendra Sai Airport, we have a system in place to collect his/her address. Once identified, our functionaries are alerted to take immediate steps to collect their swabs,” Samal added. 

In the State level, fliers directly coming to Odisha from foreign countries are being thoroughly screened on a regular basis. 

“We are sharing data regarding the passengers coming from foreign countries with the respective district authorities. They have been directed to trace such travellers out and take steps to keep them in quarantine,” informed Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra. 

“On the eighth day of their arrival, such travellers will be subjected to RT-PCR test. If anyone tests positive for Covid-19, their genome sequencing will be done to confirm if they are infected by the Omicron variant,” Mishra added. 

"We are yet to report any patient infected by Omicron. But we shouldn’t lower our guard against the new variant since some states have already reported such cases," he further added. 

“We urge people to report about any person who stays in foreign countries and has recently reached their villages by car or bus,” he said.

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