Self-quarantine to be strictly followed by all coming from abroad: Kerala Health Minister

Health Minister Veena George

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Thursday said that self-quarantine will be strictly enforced in the state for those coming from abroad after a person coming from a non-high risk country tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Everyone has to strictly follow the self-quarantine norms and avoid social interactions, crowded places, theatres and malls, the minister directed in a high level meeting, a state government release said.

The decision was taken by the minister after a person who had come from Congo, a non-high risk nation, tested positive for Omicron and now has a large contact list as he went to shopping malls and restaurants before his test results came.

He was allowed to be in self-quarantine as per central government guidelines as he had come from a non-high risk country, the minister said.

His contact list is being prepared, his route map would be published and those who may have come in contact with him should get in touch with the Health Department, she said.

On Wednesday night, the minister had confirmed that four more persons, including three women, have tested positive for Omicron.

Of these, two women were the wife (38) and mother-in-law (67) of the 39-year-old man who was the first one in the state to test positive for the new variant. He and his wife had recently returned from the UK.

Of the remaining two, the woman (22) was a native of Thiruvananthapuram and the 37-year-old man, from Ernakulam, had come back from Congo recently, the release said.

In the meeting it was also decided that samples of persons coming from high risk nations, of those coming from other countries who test COVID positive in random tests and of those who test positive for coronavirus after coming in contact with people from above two categories, would be sent for genetic testing, the release said.

Samples from COVID positive clusters would also be sent for genetic testing, it added.

It also said that of the 54 samples sent for genetic testing since December 1, results of 44 were received and of these 39 were positive for delta variant of COVID-19 and 5 for Omicron variant.

Another decision taken in the meeting was to strengthen the vaccination process for which a special drive would be organised on Friday and Saturday, the release said and added that those who have not been vaccinated should get the jabs immediately.

In the meeting, the minister also said that those who have reached or passed the date for second dose, should get it as soon as possible and use of masks, sanitizers and social distancing should be adhered to.

The Omicron variant was first detected in India in Bengaluru with two people testing positive for it comprising a South African national of Indian origin and a doctor. PTI

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