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Pradeep Pattanayak

The genome sequencing reports of 246 samples of Covid-19 positive patients, including some foreign returnees, tested negative for Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus. 

This revelation made by the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) has brought a huge relief for the government as well as the people of the State.
The ILS authorities on Friday said that they had received 246 samples of Covid patients from the testing labs in the districts for genome sequencing for confirmation of Omicron infection. “Omicron is not found in any of the samples,” the ILS confirmed. 

Terming it a big relief, Dr Niranjan Mishra, Director of Public Health, said only after testing negative for Omicron, foreign travelers are arriving in Odisha since the State doesn't have direct international flight service from Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar and Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda. 

“So far, we have information that 1,286 persons have arrived in Odisha. Some of them have gone incommunicado. Our efforts are on to reach out to one and all,” Mishra added. 

Though the ILS’s announcement has come as a huge relief, the spread of Covid in campuses has been a matter of great concern. 
After Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Angul and Jajpur, two schools in Bhubaneswar reported Covid-19 positive cases on Thursday. Taking note of such cases, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) expressed its concern.

“I have written to the district Collectors, asking them to take immediate steps if any school in their respective district reports Covid-19 cases. This apart, we have directed to carry out Covid-19 testing of school and college students,” informed Sandhyabati Pradhan, chairperson, SCPCR. 

On the other hand, the Health department on Friday said it is well aware of the infection cases being reported from educational institutions. “In most cases, the infection is found to have been transmitted in hostels. All school authorities have been directed to make quarantine facilities in their campuses. If any of the students have cold and cough symptoms, their parents have been asked not to send them to schools."

Notably, the single day count of Khordha district on Friday crossed 100-mark, reporting 146 fresh cases of Covid-19.

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