Omicron: Samples of 246 foreign returnees in Odisha sent for genome sequencing

Bhubaneswar: Amid the Omicron threat, 246 samples of returnees from at-risk countries in Odisha were sent to the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar for genome sequencing, an official said on Monday.

According to sources, over 800 persons returned to the state from foreign countries since the detection of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“We have received 246 samples of the foreign returnees from different districts for genome sequencing to ascertain the presence of Omicron variant. All these persons were found Covid positive during the RT-PCR test. The results will be known in the next two or three days,” said director, ILS, Ajay Parida here.

Earlier, genome sequencing of 141 samples of foreign returnees was conducted. However, fortunately, not a single sample was found to be an Omicron variant, he said.

As per protocol, Parida said, another round of RT-PCR test of the samples will be conducted before carrying out the genome sequencing. The samples whose CT value is less than 28 will be picked for genome sequencing, he said.

Health Minister Naba Kishore Das said there is no need to panic and the state government is monitoring the situation closely. “The WHO is conducting a study on the new variant and very soon the effectiveness of our vaccines against the variant will be known,” Das said.

Meanwhile, health department officials informed that about 320 returnees, nearly 40 per cent of the total arrivals, are untraceable. As these returnees have submitted wrong addresses and contact information in the Air Suvidha portal, the government is unable to trace them, the officials said.

Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra said: “Information provided by the Centre on foreign returnees is being shared with the district administrations and accordingly, testing and tracing are being conducted.”

He appealed to the people who have returned from at-risk countries to undergo RT-PCR test for the safety and well-being of their families.

(IANS)

Also read: 40% foreign returnees to Odisha untraceable!
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