Center Alerts States / UTs on Omicron Threat and Calls for ‘Tight Screening’ of International Passengers

MHA on Tuesday requested that all States and Union Territories (UTs) conduct a thorough screening of overseas travellers entering India and extend the Covid-19 procedures till December 31.

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New Delhi: Following the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19 ‘Omicron’, the Center has called on state governments to take strict measures to ensure that the mutant does not reach the country. There are reports that the Ministry of Health has issued an advisory after reviewing developments around the world and is closely monitoring ports

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday convened a high-level conference with officials from Union states and territories to assess public health response measures to COVID-19 and preparedness for following reports of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 in several countries.

Center Asks States To Increase Testing

After the meeting, the Center called on States and UTs to step up testing for the early identification of all cases, to carry out effective surveillance of foreign travelers, and to carefully monitor hot spots, noting that the version Omicron of SARS-CoV-2 is not immune to RT-PCR and RAT tests.

According to a statement released by the Union Health Ministry, reiterating that the revised Union Health Ministry guidelines and international travel advisories have been shared with states, the Health Secretary of the Union advised states not to relax and closely monitor international passengers entering the country. through various airports, ports, and land border crossings.

India has so far not reported any cases of the new variant of COVID-19 Omicron, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told parliament on Tuesday, citing that the administration had taken measures. precautions to ensure that she does not enter the country.

After reviewing global trends, the Center has issued an alert and is closely monitoring ports, he said, adding that genomic sequencing of suspected cases is also underway.

MHA Calls For Rigorous Screening Of International Passengers

Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday requested that all States and Union Territories (UTs) conduct a ‘rigorous’ screening of overseas travellers entering India and extend the Covid-19 procedures till December 31.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Executive Committee, issued an ordinance on November 30 directing all secretaries of central ministries, chief secretaries, and administrators of UTs to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international arrivals by their guidelines issued from time to time.

“The contacts of these international travelers should also be closely monitored and tested by the guidelines of the Department of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the samples from travelers who become positive are sent to the Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSL) of INSACOG appointed as soon as possible. Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Guidance Document, ”PTI cited the MHA orders in its report.

The Home Secretary further directed states / UTs that state surveillance officers should work closely with their designated or tagged IGSLs to expedite genomic analysis results and that they should immediately bring to light. implement the necessary public health measures if the presence of variants of concern/variants of interest (VOCs / Thefts) is reported by the INSACOG network.

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