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Centre orders intensive containment, surveillance in view of Omicron

Centre orders intensive containment, surveillance in view of Omicron

After the WHO said that the new Covid-19 variant Omicron might be dangerous, the Centre has asked all states to carry out intensive containment and surveillance. The new variant was first detected in South Africa and has an extreme number of mutations.

India has placed nations where Omicron has been detected in the 'at-risk' category. Travellers from these nations will have to undergo additional measures. States have orders to obtain the past travel details of passengers coming through international flights. The 'Omicron' variant has been detected in Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

The Health Ministry said that increased vaccination coverage and Covid-appropriate behaviour are needed to manage the new variant effectively. Ample testing infrastructure needs to be operationalised to tackle any surge due to this mutated virus. "In the absence of sufficient testing, it is extremely difficult to determine the true level of infection spread," reported NDTV.

Authorities have ordered continued monitoring of hotspots and areas where recent clusters of new Covid-19 cases have emerged. INSACOG has been set up to monitor circulating variants in the country. All positive samples are to be sent to designated labs for genome sequencing. States are told to aim for a positivity rate below 5%.

The Centre said that having adequate availability of health facilities across the state is essential to ensure no delays in providing care. "States are requested to optimally use financial support provided by the government."

States are also asked to actively and regularly address the community's concerns through press briefings and state bulletins to avoid the spread of misinformation and anxiety.

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