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Omicron Alert: Infected samples from past week to be sent for genome sequence

🔴 BMC's genome sequencing lab takes four to five days to test a sample and requires a minimum of 350 samples at a time for tests.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: December 3, 2021 3:24:31 pm
Outstation passengers arriving in Mumbai from other states being checked for body temperature and Swab test before letting them exit Dadar Station on Thursday. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Amid growing concerns of new Covid-19 variant Omicron, the BMC has decided to conduct genome sequencing on all samples taken from those who have been infected with coronavirus in the last one week.

The civic body has already started tracing international travelers who have been landing at the Mumbai airport since November 11. If found positive, their samples are being sent for genome sequencing to check for Omicron.

Officials from BMC’s public health department said that besides international travelers, samples of infected patients from the past week are also being sent for genome sequencing as a precautionary measure.

“According to a list received from the airport, more than 1,000 international passengers from ‘countries at risk’ have arrived in Mumbai since November 11. Many of them have already completed 15 days and there is very little chance that they may test positive for the virus. However, they could have come in contact with other people. So, samples of daily cases will be sent for genome sequencing,” said an official.

Among the international passengers who have arrived at Mumbai airport since November 11, around 100 are from the city. They have been traced and tested, said BMC officials. So far, six international passengers from ‘countries at risk’ have been found positive and their samples sent for genome sequencing. They are from Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune.

From November 11 till Thursday, 2,868 passengers from 40 countries have arrived at the airport.
The BMC’s genome sequencing lab in Kasturba Hospital takes about four to five days to test a sample. Also, the machine requires a minimum of 350 samples at a time to conduct tests.

Mumbai on Wednesday reported 108 Covid-19 cases, lowest in 19 months. In all, 37,877 samples were tested. In the last one month, the number of daily cases has seen a gradual decrease.

The BMC is also increasing daily testing in the wards. “We are doubling the number of daily tests. Contact tracing of all international passengers who have come to Mumbai in the last couple of weeks has also been done,” said Dr Avinash Vaydande, Medical Officer of Health (MOH) of R North ward (Dahisar).
A few administrative wards have recorded zero daily cases in recent past. “In the last few days, the daily cases in our ward have gone down to one or two,” said Dr Jitendra Jadhav, MOH of L ward (Kurla).

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