- The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron was first detected in South Africa
- Govt has issued guidelines for international passengers from 'high risk' countries
- Omicron: Centre has advised states to ramp up testing for early detection of cases
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said that no case of new coronavirus variant Omicron has been detected in India so far.
Answering a question on Omicron in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister said, "This new variant has been found in 14 countries. There is no case of Omicron in India yet."
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG is closely monitoring the situation and expediting the results of genomic analysis of positive samples of international travellers. The Minister added that the government is taking all precautions and doing genome sequencing as well.
Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday advised states and UTs to ramp up testing for early identification and management of cases amid mounting concerns over Omicron spreading to many countries. While underlining that the new variant doesn't escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, Bhushan asked states and UTs to ensure adequate infrastructure and supervised home isolation.
The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a 'variant of concern', the health body's top category for worrying coronavirus variants.
Meanwhile, the government has introduced stricter guidelines for people travelling from or transiting through 'at-risk' countries. The countries designated as 'at-risk' (updated as of November 26) include European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.