Covid-19: Telangana reports its first cases of Omicron variant
Telangana has reported the state’s first two cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. A Kenyan national and a Somali national, who landed in Hyderabad on December 12, have tested positive for the new variant, state director of health G Srinivasa Rao said on Wednesday.
Samples taken from the 24-year-old woman from Kenya and the 23-year-old man from Somalia were sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology for genome sequencing. The results were revealed on Tuesday night.
“Both of them were found to be positive for the Omicron variant,” the health director told reporters.
The woman passenger was staying at Tolichowki area in the state capital and was immediately shifted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS). “We have also collected swab samples of all her contacts, including family members and kept them in isolation,” the director said.
The 23-year-old man from Somalia was staying at Mehdipatnam and efforts were made to shift him to TIMS and test his contacts. “However, both the passengers have very mild symptoms and there is nothing to panic. They are safe,” Rao said.
He said a seven-year-old boy who too landed at the Hyderabad airport with his family on December, had tested positive for Omicron.
“But he and his family did not enter the city and instead took a connecting domestic flight to Kolkata immediately. Before leaving, the boy gave the throat swab samples for testing and it turned out to be positive for the Omicron variant. We informed the West Bengal government about the same. So at present, Telangana has only two Omicron cases,” he said.
The director said it has been decided to step up testing of passengers from even non-risk countries. “We are also expanding the vaccination programme on a war footing. So far, 41.92 million vaccine doses have been administered to residents by Tuesday evening and 97% of the eligible population in the state had received their first dose of vaccination,” he said.
Stating that the Telangana government was fully prepared to tackle a possible third wave of Covid-19, Rao sounded a note of caution about the Omicron variant. “This variant spreads very fast and even through air, and the cases are expected to double within a span of two days, unless people take enough precautions,” he said.
However,he said that there was no need to panic as symptoms of Omicron variant were not dangerous. “Even those who have taken two doses of vaccination must be cautious and take all precautions,” he added.