Bihar govt directs officials to conduct genome study, increase vaccination to tackle new Covid variant

In wake of the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant ‘Omnicron’, the Bihar government on Sunday directed health officials to conduct genome surveillance of all Covid positive samples to ascertain the strain of the virus
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar holds a review meeting with health department officials to tackle the new Covid variant, in Patna on Sunday. (Santosh Kumar/Ht Photo)
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar holds a review meeting with health department officials to tackle the new Covid variant, in Patna on Sunday. (Santosh Kumar/Ht Photo)
Published on Nov 28, 2021 09:02 PM IST
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ByAnirban Guha Roy/HTC, Patna

In wake of the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant ‘Omnicron’, the Bihar government on Sunday directed health officials to conduct genome surveillance of all Covid positive samples to ascertain the strain of the virus.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar during a review meeting of the health department on Sunday directed officials to be alert and ensure that there is adequate stocks of medicines and health facilities at the hospitals.

The chief minister also stressed that people who have returned from abroad should be monitored and those who have tested positive should be screened for the new variant. Kumar who also reviewed the ongoing vaccination programme against Covid-19 laid stress on accelerating the vaccination drive and directed officials to use all modes of publicity to encourage people who have taken the 1st dose to inoculate themselves with the 2nd dose as well. “There should be state level monitoring of those districts where the vaccination drive and testing is slow. There should not be any laxity on testing and vaccination drive should be widely publicised ,” the CM said. Till Sunday, Bihar has inoculated 80 million citizens, according to officials.

During the meeting, Bihar representative of World Health Organisation ( WHO) Dr Subramaniyam apprised the CM about the new Covid variant ‘Omicron’ and its various aspects. Additional chief secretary (health) Prataya Amrit said the health department is on high alert to tackle the new variant.

Health minister Mangal Pandey, while talking to mediapersons on Sunday, said, “Though there has been no positive cases of the new variant in the country so far, the health department is on high alert and directives have been issued to health officials to maintain tight vigil while conducting RT-PCR tests to detect any strain of the new variant so that immediate steps can be taken”.

Asked about the central government’s directives to conduct tests of around 281 persons who have arrived from foreign countries in last two months in Bihar, the health minister said the health officials have started visiting residences of the persons mentioned in the list.

“ Health officials have started visiting the persons mentioned in the list who have returned from abroad. There are instances where people have their address in Bihar but live in different parts of the country. So, we will tests of all those people staying in Bihar ,” the minister said, who also attended the review meeting of health department along with the CM.

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