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Omicron: Centre asks states/UTs to increase vaccination coverage, ramp up surveillance

Meanwhile, several states have started taking up measures to clamp down the spread of the variant.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: November 28, 2021 16:17 IST
omicron variant
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Omicron: Centre asks states/UTs to increase vaccination coverage, ramp up surveillance

Highlights

  • Centre has asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening, testing.
  • Several states have started taking up measures to clamp down the spread of the variant.
  • Samples of travellers turning positive are to be sent to designated genome sequencing labs.

Amid concerns over the potentially more contagious new Omicron variant of coronavirus detected in some countries recently, the Central government on Sunday directed states and union territories to increase vaccination coverage. Apart from this, the Centre has also asked to enforce intensive containment, and active surveillance measures. 

Centre has asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana.

In a letter to the additional chief secretary/principal secretary/secretary (Health) of all states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked them to ensure that samples of travellers turning positive are sent to the designated genome sequencing laboratories promptly.

As a proactive step, the government has already placed nations, where this VoC has been found, in the category of 'at risk' countries for additional follow-up measures of international travellers coming into lndia from these destinations, he said in a letter dated November 27.

"ln view of the possible threat that this VoC can pose to the nation, it is imperative that the intensive containment, active surveillance, increased coverage of vaccination and Covid- appropriate behaviour must be enforced in the field in a very proactive manner to effectively manage this VoC," Bhushan said.

The health secretary said it is essential that the disease surveillance network in the country is geared up for rigorous follow-up of international travellers from all countries, especially those designated as 'at risk'.

Meanwhile, several states have started taking up measures to clamp down the spread of the variant. 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said all the people who arrived in the state from international destinations in the past one month will have to go undergo the COVID-19 test.

Uttrakhand Health Secretary Dr. Pankaj Kumar Pandey has instructed all the District Magistrates of the state to monitor the people coming from outside along with intensive testing as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said that the state government is taking all the precautions and is prepared to deal with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

There is already a reporting mechanism for obtaining past travel details of passengers coming through international flights, he said, adding this should be reviewed and the protocol provided by the ministry should be strictly ensured, including testing on disembarkation of travellers coming from 'at risk' countries and sending all positive samples for genome sequencing to INSACOG labs in a prompt manner.

Also Read: Israel to ban entry of ALL foreign nationals in view of 'Omicron' Covid variant

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