Amid mounting concerns over the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant Omicron, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting with states and UTs on Tuesday 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.
According to government officials, no case of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected in India – yet.
In view of the possible threat that the new ‘variant of concern’ can pose, 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 ensure augmentation of health infrastructure.
In a letter on November 28, Bhushan also stressed on rigorous surveillance of international passengers, ensuring prompt dispatch of samples for genome sequencing and strict enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour.
The B.1.1.529 variant, or Omicron, was designated by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants. An official said no case of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected in India and Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia, or INSACOG, is closely monitoring the situation and expediting the results of genomic analysis of positive samples of international travellers.