Vikash Sharma

The detection of two cases of Omicron, the new Covid-19 variant of concern, has become a cause of worry for people in Odisha owing to the high-transmission rate of the variant as found during initial studies across the globe. The Odisha government is also not leaving any stone unturned to combat the eventualities arising out of the new Covid variant.

The State Chief Secretary on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the situation and chalk out a roadmap to deal with any emergency situation arising out of the new Covid variant. The crucial meeting came a day after Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked all States, UTs to step up Covid-19 infection trends and take appropriate measures to ban large gatherings if more than 10% of all tests in a week turn positive or if the occupancy of hospital beds breaches 40% of capacity.

Following the crucial high-level meeting today, Odisha Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra said that all possible steps are being taken by the State government in view of the situation rising out of the Omicron threat.

Mishra said that the State government has directed to focus on a five-fold strategy- intensify surveillance, genome sequencing, vaccination, testing and tracking. If needed, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) may come up with new guidelines in coming days, he said.

“Apart from foreign travellers, genome sequencing of samples from district-level will also be intensified in the coming days. Similarly, the testing measures will also be intensified and the SRC may also come up with new guidelines,” said Mishra.

In view of the upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities the State government has already asked District Collectors and Municipal Commissioners to put curbs on congregations or large gatherings. The administrative officials have been asked to take appropriate localised measures to deal with the emerging situation.

The Public Health Director further stated that strict vigil is also mounted on educational institutions. Clear instructions have been issued to immediately isolate the students and staff who develop symptoms so that necessary testing and treatment can be provided.

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