States to increase vigil, testing for Omicron variant

States to increase vigil, testing for Covid-19 Omicron variant

While a few states have decided to reimpose stringent curbs, most have directed arrivals from international destinations to get themselves tested for Covid-19

While several countries have imposed travel curbs, India is mulling its decision to resume international flights. Credit: PTI Photo

In the wake of the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, many states have decided to reimpose stringent restrictions and undertake tests of arrivals from abroad, especially from countries where the variant has been detected.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to the public to follow all Covid-related protocols to avoid another lockdown. He said that people must take precautions to protect one another from the new variant.

A returnee from South Africa to Dombivali in Thane district in Maharashtra has tested positive for coronavirus, although it is unclear as to whether he has been infected with the Omicron variant.

Also Read: World races to contain new Covid variant

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has ordered the imposition of precautionary measures in districts bordering the neighbouring state of Kerala, where a high number of Covid cases continue to be reported. He has also asked educational institutions to postpone all public events and gatherings.

A Karnataka official also said that two passengers from South Africa, who arrived in Bengaluru, are said to have been infected with the Delta variant, according to a report by the Times of India.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, has ordered all arrivals from international destinations over the past month to undergo a Covid-19 test.

In this context, the Central government has also decided to review its decision to resume international flights, with South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel figuring in the "at-risk" category. This decision comes in the backdrop of several European and American countries already having imposed restrictions to curb the new variant.

On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also demanded not to allow flights from countries where the new variant has been detected.

In the backdrop of increased anxiety over the Omicron variant, the Centre has requested all states and UTs for active surveillance, enhanced testing and increased vaccine coverage.

Also Read: DH Deciphers | Should India worry about the new Covid variant?

Omicron or B.1.1.529, first detected in South Africa, has been labelled a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO). The variant has also been detected in Australia, Netherlands, UK and Denmark, among other countries.


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