Updated: December 3, 2021 2:01:07 pm
Two persons, including a child, who arrived in Tamil Nadu from Singapore and England, which are among the 12 ‘at-risk’ countries, have tested positive for Covid-19. The state government has sent their samples for genome sequencing to check for the presence of the Omicron variant.
Confirming the cases, state Health Minister Ma Subramanian said on Friday, “One of the passengers who arrived on a Singapore flight in Tiruchirapalli has tested positive for Covid-19. He was isolated at the KP Viswanathan Medical College and Hospital. His samples have been sent for genome sequencing at the lab here in Chennai as well as to InStem (Institute for Stem Cell Science) in Bengaluru… We will get to know whether he is infected with the Omicron variant only after getting the results.” The flight landed at 10.30 pm on Thursday and the results of the passengers’ tests came in at 3.30 am Friday, S Dharmaraj, Director of Tiruchirappalli International Airport, said.
“Similarly, a 10-year-old child who reached Chennai from England has tested positive for Covid-19. She has been admitted to the special ward at King Institute. Close contacts of these two people are being monitored,” the minister said, adding that samples taken from the cabin crew and passengers seated in close proximity to the two people on their flights are also being tested. They have also been directed to isolate themselves.
Along with Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and other senior officials, Subramanian had on Thursday inspected the precautionary measures implemented at the four international airports – Madurai, Chennai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirapalli – in the wake of the threat posed by the Omicron variant.
The Health Department has already appointed nodal officers at each of these international airports to monitor the situation as passengers arrive from various countries, including ‘high risk’ nations.
On Friday, Subramanian said that as per the Centre’s guidelines, international passengers were subjected to RT-PCR tests, besides temperature screening. “Till yesterday night (Thursday) samples of 1,868 people who reached Tamil Nadu from other countries were tested. As per the directions of Chief Minister MK Stalin, the Health Department will bear the cost of random RT-PCR testing conducted on passengers arriving from ‘non-risk’ countries. This will also be extended to passengers coming from ‘high-risk’ countries who are struggling financially,” he said.
Subramanian said the government has set up a holding zone for those awaiting test results. “If people arriving from ‘high-risk’ countries test positive for Covid-19, they will be immediately admitted to government hospitals. We have made arrangements at six hospitals in the state including Rajaji Government Medical College Hospital in Madurai, Government Medical College Hospitals in Coimbatore and Tiruchy, King Institute, Rajiv Gandhi Government College as well as Omandurar Government Medical College and Hospital in Chennai. In each of these hospitals, a special ward with 30 to 40 beds and all necessary facilities including oxygen, ventilator support are made ready,” he added.
The minister said there is no need for panic but asked the public to stay cautious and follow all preventive measures. He also appealed to citizens not to spread false information on social media.
On the vaccination front, the health department said almost 80 per cent of the eligible population in the state have received the first dose of vaccination and 45 per cent the second dose. According to the minister, around 7.13 crore people have been vaccinated so far. As many as 715 fresh Covid infections were recorded in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, pushing the total case count to 27.28 lakh while the toll rose to 36,504 with 12 more deaths.
As per the medical bulletin, 748 people were discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of those discharged to 26,83,691. The active cases in the state stand at 8,155. Chennai (123) and Coimbatore (121) have reported the most cases among all districts. As many as 22 districts reported less than 10 new infections, while Tenkasi recorded the least with zero new cases, the bulletin said.
Meanwhile, the 13th mega vaccination camp in the state is scheduled to take place on Saturday at around 50,000 locations. People who are due for their second dose have been directed to get vaccinated.
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