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Tamil Nadu: Health minister asks hotels to avoid organising parties on New year

The Tamil Nadu government also requested the Centre to grant them permission, as a special case, to announce Omicron confirmed cases rather than wait for reports from NIV owing to its expertise in whole-genome sequencing.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
December 28, 2021 12:45:38 pm
Crowded Marina Beach in Chennai. (PTI)

Amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country, Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian on Tuesday again requested the hotels, resorts, and other places to keep away from organising celebrations on New Year’s Eve (December 31) to avoid overcrowding.

Addressing the reporters in Chennai, Subramanian requested the public to celebrate the New Year at their house with the family. He said police and local municipal administration officials will be closely monitoring the hotels.

Commenting on the Omicron variant, he added that as per the sample results declared by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), of the 34 Omicron cases in Tamil Nadu, only five are currently undergoing treatment, and the rest have been discharged.

“We have sent the samples of rest of the persons detected with S-gene drop to whole-genome sequencing labs and the results are awaited. The case count may vary depending on that. Those who are currently undergoing treatment at the hospitals for Omicron are stable,” he said.

Subramanian added that the samples sent for testing include the doctors and the nurses who contracted the Covid-19 infection from a diabetic patient who underwent surgery at the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital.

“The samples of 3,370 people including close contacts of doctors, nurses were tested and among them, 51 were detected with S-gene drop. We have intimated this to NIV, they would be informing us about how many of these people have been infected with the Omicron variant,” he added.

Expressing concern on the increase in Covid-19 cases in Chennai, Subramanian said, “In slum areas in the city only 33-34 per cent of people are wearing masks and similarly those who are visiting malls and other commercial establishments are not wearing masks properly.” Subramanian added that Chennai city should be an example to the rest of them in the state and the public should ensure wearing masks and following other safety precautions.

Earlier on Monday, the state government requested the Centre to grant them permission, as a special case, to announce Omicron confirmed cases rather than wait for reports from NIV owing to its expertise in whole-genome sequencing.

Subramanian claimed that by the time the NIV confirmed the samples, those testing positive in the state get discharged after treatment. He raised the issue of granting permission to the State-owned lab at a meeting of the central team of experts, on a visit to the city.

He also urged the Centre to grant permission to issue orders for compulsory seven-day isolation and increased testing of international passengers from non-risk countries, as many of them have been found to have S-gene drop during random testing.

The four-member central team, which included Dr. Vineeta, Dr. Purbasa, Dr. M Santhosh Kumar, and Dr. Dinesh Babu, inspected the oxygen production unit and storage facility, besides the Omicron ward, at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Monday.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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