Pradeep Pattanayak

With the new Omicron variant of coronavirus striking fear, anxiety and paranoia across the globe, Odisha Health and Family Welfare Department secretary, Raj Kumar Sharma has directed all the Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and CDMOs to remain alert and keep the mechanism ready. 

Issuing a letter, Sharma directed them to subject the travellers arriving from and through Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong to rigorous screening and testing as per MoH&FW guidelines. The contacts of these travellers must also be tracked, he said.

The Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and CDMOs have also been asked to ensure strict adherence to testing, tracking, treatment, vaccination and implementation of containment measures. 

Besides, they have been asked to ensure that adequate samples are sent for WGS as per the issued guidelines, particularly covering high-risk groups. 

They have also been asked to ensure people should follow appropriate Covid-19 behaviour, particularly proper wearing of face masks, and ensure samples of travellers turning positive are sent to IGSLs promptly. 

Moreover, the concerned officials have been directed to increase surveillance in hostels, congregations and gathering sites for early detection and warning.  

The new virus, which is more contagious, was first identified in South Africa. It has so far raised its ugly head in countries like Australia, Botswana, South Africa, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium. Luckily, no case of this new variant has so far been detected in India. 

With VISA restrictions having been relaxed and international travel opened up, there is Omicron fear everywhere.