Bhubaneswar: Five more cases of new Omicron variant of Covid-19 was detected in Odisha Thursday, the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) here informed. With this, the tally of Omicron cases reached 14.
“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, including one more case December 29. 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 earlier infected person was from Keonjhar district and had returned from Dubai,” a senior ILS official stated.
The Health department is yet to share details about new infectees.
“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 had said earlier.
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.