With 5 Omicron cases in Kerala, screening to be strengthened at entry points

Kerala Health Minister Veena George.

Thiruvananthapuram: With five Omicron positive cases being detected in Kerala, State Health Minister Veena George said on Thursday that screening, especially at the airports, seaports will be strengthened.

The minister was addressing the media after a meeting to assess the situation. She said the first person who came from the UK to turn Omicron positive was at Kochi and later his wife and mother also tested positive.

Then another person, who is now in Kochi, came from Congo which does not figure in the list of "at-risk" countries and the fifth case has been reported in Thiruvananthapuram.

"In the wake of people from non-high-risk countries testing positive, we have decided to step up testing and screening at all entry points. According to the present rules, anyone coming from high risk countries has to go into self isolation," said George.

She also pointed out that as an urgent step, the coming days will see a massive vaccination campaign across the state and all those who have not taken their second dose, after the prescribed timeframe, have to get vaccinated at the earliest.

From December 1, as many as 1,47,844 people have arrived in the state through various airports of which 8,920 was tested at the airport itself.

"Of this, 15 people turned Covid positive, of which 13 were from high-risk countries and all the samples have been sent for genomic sequencing. Those who arrived from "at-risk" countries prior to December 1 and turned positive and those whose samples turned positive after 8 days have also been sent for genomic sequencing. Till now, in all 54 samples have been sent for genomic sequencing and 44 results have come and 5 were positive for Omicron and the rest carried the delta variant Covid virus," added George and asked all to ensure that they do not violate the basics of Covid protocols.


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