Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Omicron: Mumbai prepares action plan for people returning from ‘at risk’ countries

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Hours after India’s fourth Omicron case was detected in Mumbai’s Dombivli, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that the authorities are alert about people returning from ‘at risk’ countries and have prepared an action plan for it. “We are alert about people returning from ‘at risk’ countries and have prepared an action plan for it. The airport authorities have been directed to inform our disaster control room on arrivals from these countries. 10 ambulances will be kept on stand by in each ward,” the Mumbai mayor said while addressing the media persons.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia informed Parliament on Thursday that 11 countries – the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel – have been placed in the ‘at-risk’ category amid the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Mumbai Mayor further said that samples of 288 foreign returnees have been sent for genome sequencing and the results are awaited. “We are expecting the results of the samples sent for genome sequencing. The samples of 288 foreign returnees were sent for genome sequencing,” Pednekar said.

A 33-year-old man from Maharashtra’s Kalyan-Dombivli who recently returned from South Africa has been found positive for the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, informed the State Health Department on Saturday. This is the first case of the variant in Maharashtra and the fourth in the country. The concerned person’s sample was taken in Delhi which was genome sequenced at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year. On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.

Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.

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