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No cases of Omicron in Tamil Nadu yet: Health Minister Ma Subramanian

Addressing reporters at Madurai airport after inspecting the safety measures implemented by the officials to prevent the spread of the new variant, Subramanian said as many as 477 people from 11 high-risk countries have landed in Tamil Nadu till Wednesday night.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
December 2, 2021 2:47:36 pm
Overseas passengers on arrival undergo RT-PCR tests at the airport. (PTI)

Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian Thursday said no cases of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron had been detected in the state till Wednesday night.

Addressing reporters at Madurai airport after inspecting the safety measures implemented by the officials to prevent the spread of the new variant, Subramanian said as many as 477 people from 11 high-risk countries have landed in Tamil Nadu till Wednesday night. Their samples were tested and all of them returned negative.

“Samples of those arriving from high-risk countries are being collected at all the four international airports in Tamil Nadu. It takes around five-six hours to get the RT-PCR results and required arrangements have been made at the airports to facilitate passengers. People will be made to wait in the holding area until their results arrive. If they test negative, they will be sent home following which, they need to be in self-isolation for a period of seven days. Those in home quarantine will be constantly monitored by authorities from the health, revenue and police departments. After completing their seven-day isolation period, they will be subjected to another test. Only after they test negative on that, will they be allowed to come out in the open,” he said.

Subramanian said random testing (about two per cent) will be conducted on passengers arriving from non-high-risk countries. He added that for RT-PCR tests, passengers need to pay Rs 600.

“Considering that many labourers and other financially-challenged people might come from these countries, based on the orders of Chief Minister M K Stalin, the state health department will bear the cost for random RT-PCR tests,” he said.

Commenting on rapid RT-PCR tests, Subramanian said passengers who wish to avail that facility, can get their results within half an hour by paying a fee of Rs 3,400.

He added that a fever screening system is present at all four international airports in the state to examine passengers and those having a temperature above 100 degrees Celsius will be isolated and subjected to RT-PCR tests.

The state government has set up special wards at hospitals near all international airports for those who test positive for Omicron.

According to the health department, around 79 per cent of the eligible population in Tamil Nadu have received their first dose of vaccine while 44 per cent got the second dose.

The minister appealed to those who haven’t taken their jabs to get them soon. He said if people adhere to the preventive measures issued by the government, there won’t be a necessity to implement lockdown.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu reported 718 Covid-19 infections Wednesday, including returnees from Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bangladesh, taking the overall tally to 27,27,635.

A total of eleven people succumbed to the virus Wednesday, taking the toll to 36,492. As many as 751 people recovered from the infections in the last 24 hours. The active cases stood at 8,200. Among all districts, Chennai and Coimbatore contributed the maximum with 117 and 118, respectively.

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