Bhubaneswar: One more case of new Omicron variant of Covid-19 was detected in Odisha Wednesday, the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) here informed. With this, tally of Omicron cases has reached nine.
“Detection of the new variant has been duly reported to state Health Department by the ILS. The state had earlier reported two cases of Omicron December 21, two more December 23 and another four December 26. The first four Omicron-infected persons had returned from Nigeria and Qatar respectively. Out of the recent cases detected Sunday, two infected persons had returned from Nigeria and the other two had recently travelled to UAE. The new infected person is from Keonjhar district and had returned from Dubai,” an official stated.
The returnee tested positive with coronavirus following his arrival in Odisha via Kolkata in a train December 16. Since then, he was in isolation at his home and later his sample was sent to ILS for genome sequencing which confirmed that he was infected with Omicron.
Swab samples of family members and parents of the returnee were sent for Covid-19 testing twice and all were found negative both times. Health condition of the returnee is now stable, the official said.
“Surveillance and vaccination drive will be intensified in the state. We have been directed by government to step up the daily Covid tests to 70,000,” Health Director Bijay Kumar Panigrahi said Thursday.
Recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged the people of the state to remain cautious and not, at all, to venture out of their houses to curb any probable spread of new Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Patnaik’s message came close on the heels of initial cases of Omicron being detected in the state after conducting genome sequencing of earlier collected samples of foreign returnees, which was confirmed Tuesday by the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) in Bhubaneswar.
“Each and every life is precious to me. The new Omicron variant has been spreading rapidly. Hence, we all have to stay alert and strictly follow Covid appropriate behaviour to reduce the chances of getting infected with the virus. Do not be careless, wear mask and maintain social distancing,” said the Chief Minister in his video message.
“The new variant of Covid-19 is spreading in several other countries. The transmission rate of Omicron is much higher than that of the Delta variant. Hence, it has become a major cause of concern for the World Health Organisation (WHO),” Patnaik further said in the message.
However, there is nothing to panic and Omicron variant can certainly be avoided, if people remain cautious from now onwards. The state government will be able to fight out an expected third wave of Covid-19 with everyone’s cooperation, the Chief Minister emphasised.