‘No case of Omicron in India yet’

New Delhi, Nov 30: The new Covid-19 variant Omicron has not been reported in India yet, Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed Parliament on Tuesday.
“The Omicron variant has been detected in 14 countries so far. There is no case of Omicron in India yet. We are immediately checking suspicious cases and conducting genome sequencing. We are also taking all possible precautions,” he said in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament.
Mandaviya also said that the central government has issued an advisory based on the global developments related to the new variant and is keeping a keen watch on ports.
Speaking during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, the minister added that studies are being conducted on the Omicron.
Stressing on the need to take all precautions, Mandaviya said, “We have learnt a lot during the pandemic. We have resources and labs to check. All measures have been taken to ensure this variant does not reach the country”. Earlier in the day, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting with states and UTs and advised them to ramp up testing for early identification and management of cases.
While underlining that the new variant doesn’t escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, Bhushan asked states and UTs to ensure adequate infrastructure and supervised home isolation.
The ministry has asked all states and UTs to focus on intensive containment, active surveillance, enhanced testing, monitoring of hotspots, increased coverage of vaccination and augmentation of health infrastructure.

‘Omicron variant does not escape RT-PCR and RAT’
New Delhi: Underlining that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 does not escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, the Centre on Tuesday advised states and UTs to ramp up testing and undertake effective surveillance of international passengers even as it asserted that no case of the new variant has been found as yet in the country. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level virtual meeting with states and UTs to review COVID-19 public health response measures and preparedness amid cases of Omicron variant of COVID19 being reported across various countries.
Reiterating that the revised guidelines and international travel advisories of the Union Health Ministry have been shared with the states, Bhushan advised states not to let their guard down and keep a strict vigil on the international passengers coming to the country through various airports, ports and land border crossings and stressed on strict monitoring of hotspots, a health ministry statement said.
Also, noting the critical role of vaccination as a powerful defence against COVID-19, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ vaccination campaign has been extended till 31st December with a focus on 100 percent first dose coverage and completing the backlog of second dose vaccination, the statement said.


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