The Tamil Nadu government has decided to strengthen surveillance at airports in view of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Monday said so far Omicron has not been detected in the state, adding the government had last month inaugurated a state-of-the-art genetic testing centre to facilitate quick detection of variants.
Till now, 6,714 samples have been sent to the Centre. Results for 4,618 have been obtained. So far, 96 per cent of the samples tested for Delta variant, he said.
“The four international airports in the state have been directed to strictly screen passengers returning from Omicorn affected countries. The health secretary and I will visit the airports to inspect their preparedness,” he said.
In a related development the Director of Public Health issued a circular saying Tamil Nadu has decided to use ‘Thermo Fischer TaqPath Assay’ as a proxy test for the Omicron variant, pending sequencing confirmation, at 12 RT-PCR labs of the government.
The DPH said samples of all international travellers who test positive for COVID-19 hereafter would be subjected to genomic sequencing at the State public health laboratory.
Subramanian visited the state public health laboratory earlier this month. He said the genomic sequencing of the 469 samples tested so far at the laboratory have shown that over 95 per cent of the samples were infected with Delta variant.