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Pradeep Pattanayak

In view of the possible threat from Omicron, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, Director of Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra Monday advised the people of the State not to lower their guards against Covid-19.

While informing journalists about the steps taken to check the new variant of novel-Coronavirus lineage named B.1.1.529 from entering the State, Mishra said, “Negative Covid-19 certificate for the fliers coming from foreign countries is a must. Yet, their samples will be collected at the airport itself. They have to quarantine themselves mandatorily for seven days even if they are found negative for the infection. If the person tests positive, genome sequencing will be carried out to trace presence of any infection from the new variant."

“We are collecting lists of fliers coming from other countries on a regular basis. Vaccination is the only weapon to fight against the virus. First dose will be administered within a very limited period,” he further informed.

“Since there is no extensive information about the latest variant, we have to follow all usual Covid-19 guidelines like wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing to be on the safe side.” 

On one hand, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared Omicron as ‘variant of concern’; on the other hand it says it requires more studies to understand the nature of the variant. Information relating to its transmission rate, severity of disease it causes and how vaccines are capable to keep the variant at bay is still not available, said Mishra.

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