As fears continued to mount about the new variant on the block – Omicron, a 39-year-old Chandigarh resident who had returned from South Africa a few days ago, has tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (November 29) along with one family member and his domestic help.
It is yet to be determined whether they have been infected by the Omicron variant. The authorities have disclosed in an official statement that their samples have been dispatched to the National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, for whole genome sequencing to ascertain the variant/variant of concern (VoC), if any.
According to media reports, the man had tested negative for COVID-19 at first when he had arrived in Chandigarh on November 21. However, after a retest on Monday, he tested positive for coronavirus and was immediately moved to an institutional quarantine facility.
Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa last week, has been designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a “variant of concern”. According to the UN health body, a variant of concern demonstrates an “increase in transmissibility” or “detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology”.
The Chandigarh administration’s statement affirmed that the 39-year-old South Africa returnee who was retested has turned out to be positive for COVID-19. His one family member and a domestic help have also tested positive, said the statement adding that two other family members were reported to be negative while the report of one family member was awaited.
Another statement issued by the administration earlier in the day had said he was home quarantined. However, they squashed “rumours” that the residents had tested positive for the new COVID variant “Omicron”. It is clarified that there is no such case in Chandigarh, it added.
“A 39-year-old male resident of Sector 36 had returned from South Africa on November 21. He was RT-PCR negative on his arrival at the airport. He was quarantined at home on his arrival in Chandigarh,” said the statement, reported India Today.
Meanwhile, besides boosting the surveillance of those people returning from foreign countries, the Chandigarh authorities will conduct rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests for new admissions to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospitals and sub-district hospitals. Patients visiting OPDs will also have to take the rapid antigen test, said the statement.
The authorities are also in a state of readiness with a sufficient number of oxygenated and ventilator beds. Sufficient stocks of testing kits have been made available with all the hospitals, added the statement.