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3 more arriving from ‘at-risk’ countries test Covid positive

Twelve of these samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology and another 16 to the Kasturba Hospital laboratory at Mumbai.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: December 3, 2021 7:26:43 am
3 more arriving from 'at-risk' countries test Covid positiveDr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO South-East Asia Region, said the detection of two cases of Omicron variant in India on Thursday -- the first two cases in WHO South-East Asia Region -- was not unexpected "in view of the interconnected world that we live in".(Representational)

Three passengers, who arrived at the Mumbai International Airport from countries ‘at-risk’ for Omicron variant of Covid-19, tested positive for the virus on Thursday. The three passengers were among the 861 passengers at Mumbai airport who were tested for the infection.

“Overall, we have sent 28 samples for genomic testing. Of these, 25 samples are from those who have returned after travelling abroad and three are their close contacts,” State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate told The Indian Express.

Twelve of these samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology and another 16 to the Kasturba Hospital laboratory at Mumbai.

Meanwhile, in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, health authorities are waiting for genome sequencing report from NIV to rule out the presence of Omicron variant in the three Covid-positive passengers who had travelled to African countries recently and then returned to Pune via Mumbai.

“We have traced as many as 17 contacts of the 60-year-old man, who returned from Zambia to Pune 10 days ago, and have tested all of them. Their reports are negative for Covid-19,” said Dr Sanjeev Wavare, assistant medical officer of Pune Municipal Corporation.

Two of the passengers, who had travelled to Nigeria and returned to Pimpri-Chinchwad via Mumbai on November 25, were found infected with Covid-19. One of their contacts also tested positive for the infection on Wednesday. Another passenger, who had also returned from Nigeria on November 25, tested positive on Thursday. His two contacts have also tested positive for the infection, said officials.
Thirteen contacts of these passengers were traced and tested, and found to be negative for the infection, said Dr Laxman Gofane, medical officer of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

In a statement, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO South-East Asia Region, said the detection of two cases of Omicron variant in India on Thursday — the first two cases in WHO South-East Asia Region — was not unexpected “in view of the interconnected world that we live in”.

“This emphasises on the need for all countries to step up surveillance, to be on alert and rapidly detect any importation and take measures to curtail further spread of the virus. The response measures for all variants, including Omicron, is the same as that for SARs CoV2. Comprehensive and tailored public health and social measures by governments, and strict adherence to preventive and precautionary measures by individuals, is a must. People must wear well-fitting masks, which covers their nose and mouth well, keep distance, avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces, keep hands clean, cover cough and sneeze and get vaccinated. And continue to take all precautionary measures even after getting vaccinated. All travelers must adhere to public health and social measures at all times and remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of Covid-19… Omicron variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Researchers around the world are conducting studies to better understand transmissibility, severity and immune escape capabilities of Omicron. WHO commends countries which have been able to quickly detect and report cases of the new Variant of Concern,” said Dr Singh.

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