No case of new COVID variant reported in Kerala: Health minister

Veena George| Photo: ANI

Thiruvananthapuram: Health Minister Veena George has informed that no case of Omicron, the new COVID variant reported in Kerala so far. Addressing the media here on Monday, the minister stated that genomic surveillance is continuously underway in the state.

Travellers from countries affected with the new variant have to undergo an RT-PCR test and must observe quarantine for 14 days.

Travellers from abroad and those who came to contact with them will be surveilled. In the initial phase, they will be taken for the RT-PCR test. Later, 7-days mandatory quarantine will be prescribed. They have to undergo another RT-PCR test on the 8th day of quarantine. If they test COVID positive, they must observe quarantine for a week.

People from the High-risk nations are allowed to enter India after producing a negative RT-PCR test report for COVID taken at least 72 hours before the journey. As per the guidelines issued by the central government, each passenger from these 12 countries must undergo an RT-PCR test after landing in India. If they test negative, they must observe a 7-days quarantine at home and undergo another test on the 8th day. If they test positive for COVID again, they have to continue the quarantine for another 7 days.

If any travellers from abroad test COVID positive, they should be shifted to hospitals. The centre has asked to set up special wards for treating these COVID patients. The health minister informed that all arrangements are being carried out in the state.

The health department has deployed more health workers at 4 international airports, informed the minister.

“We will have a discussion on the present situation and take every possible measure. We have also asked the Centre for booster doses and vaccination drive for children below 18 years of age, as it is very essential, but we're awaiting their decision,” Veena George told the media here.

Amid the mounting concerns over the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant "Omicron' spreading to many countries, the Centre on Sunday introduced stricter guidelines for people travelling from or transiting through 'at-risk' countries and issued a slew of directions to the states for ramping up testing-surveillance measures and health facilities.

It also decided to review the resumption of international flights.

The countries designated as 'at-risk' (updated as of November 26, 2021) include European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

(with added inputs from PTI)

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