Bihar govt on alert to tackle new Covid-19 variant, CM asks health staff to be vigilant

Bihar govt on alert to tackle new Covid-19 variant, CM asks health staff to be vigilant
© Provided by Hindustan Times The Bihar government has also instructed officials to carry out proper contact tracing of all Covid-19 cases. It has also instructed officials not to show any laxity in testing. (HT PHOTO.)

The Bihar government is on alert to tackle the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 and has directed health officials to carry out genomic surveillance of all Covid-19 positive samples during RT-PCR tests to ascertain the strain of the virus found.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday directed officials to be alert in view of the new variant of Covid-19 and ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines and health facilities at hospitals.

Kumar, who reviewed the ongoing vaccination programme against Covid-19 during a meeting of the health department on Sunday, also stressed that people having returned from abroad should be monitored and those having tested Covid-19 positive should be screened for the new variant.

Health minister Mangal Pandey, on Sunday, said, “Though there has been no positive cases of the new variant in the country so far, the health department is on alert mode and directives have been issued to health officials to maintain high vigil during RT-PCR tests for detecting any strain of the new variant so that immediate steps can be taken”.

Asked about the central government’s directives to conduct tests of around 281 people who have arrived from foreign countries in the last two months in Bihar, the health minister said the health officials have started visiting the houses of the people mentioned in the list.

“Health officials have started visiting the people mentioned in the list who have returned from abroad. There are instances where people have their addresses in Bihar but live in different parts of the country. So, for all those people who are staying in Bihar, we will conduct their tests,” the minister said.

Officials said districts had been instructed to carry out genomic surveillance of all Covid-19 positive samples to ascertain the strain of the virus. The state has also instructed officials for heightened surveillance and proper contact tracing of all Covid-19 cases. It has also instructed officials not to show any laxity in testing.

Earlier the Chief Minister during a review meeting of the health department asked the officials to accelerate the vaccination drive against Covid-19 and directed that widespread awareness should be done to ensure that people having taken their first dose of the jab should take the second dose.

Kumar also stressed that all modes of publicity should be put to use to encourage people having taken the first dose to take the second dose and also accelerate the vaccination drive. “There should be state level monitoring of those districts where the vaccination drive and testing is slow. There should not be any laxity on testing and wide publicity of the vaccination drive,” the CM said.

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