South Africa returnee, 2 contacts test Covid positive in Chandigarh, samples sent to check for Omicron

South Africa returnee, 2 contacts test Covid positive in Chandigarh, samples sent to check for Omicron
South Africa returnee, 2 contacts test Covid positive in Chandigarh, samples sent to check for Omicron

Amid fear over the spread of the newly detected Omicron variant, a 39-year-old Chandigarh resident who had returned from South Africa a few days ago, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday along with one family member and his domestic help. The samples of the positive cases will now be sent to Delhi for whole genome sequencing to ascertain the variant/variant of concern (VoC), if any.

The man had tested Covid-19 negative upon his arrival in Chandigarh on November 21. He tested positive for coronavirus in a retest on Monday and was shifted to an institutional quarantine facility.

Read: South Africa returnee tests Covid positive in Thane; samples sent to check for Omicron

The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or “Omicron”, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a “variant of concern”, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants.

“In continuation of the earlier press statement, it is hereby informed that the 39-year-old South Africa returnee who was retested today has turned out to be positive for Covid-19. His one family member and a domestic help have also tested positive for Covid-19,” the Chandigarh Administration said in a statement.

“However, two other family members are reported to be negative while the report of one family member is awaited,” they added.

“The samples of the positive cases will be sent for whole genome sequencing to the National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, to ascertain the variant/variant of concern, if any,” it said.

Read: Govt issues fresh travel advisory for international passengers amid Omicron scare

Another statement issued by the administration earlier in the day had said he was home quarantined, dismissing as “rumours” anyone having tested positive for the new Covid variant “Omicron”.

“A 39-year-old male resident of Sector 36 had returned from South Africa on November 21. He was RT-PCR negative on his arrival at the airport. He was quarantined at home on his arrival in Chandigarh,” the statement had said.

“It is clarified that there is no such case in Chandigarh,” it added.

Meanwhile, amid concerns over the new variant, the administration here stepped up surveillance of those returning from abroad. The administration held a review meeting on Monday and the authorities concerned have been asked to ensure enforcement of the Covid protocols.

It was decided that in case of admission, rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests of patients should be conducted at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16, GMCH in Sector 32, sub-district hospitals in Sectors 22, 45 and Mani Majra.

In the case of OPDs, all patients have to take the rapid antigen test.

All symptomatic patients will undergo the RT-PCR test also, an official statement said. The PGIMER has been directed to increase testing for patients coming for admission and in OPDs .

“The GMCH in Sector 32 is in a state of readiness with a sufficient number of oxygenated and ventilator beds. In case the occupancy at GMCH-32 reaches 80 per cent, the hospital at Sector 48 with 121 oxygenated beds will be opened,” the statement said. Special arrangements have been made in the Sector-45 civil hospital for children with a sufficient number of ventilator beds, it said.

“The sub-district hospitals in Sector 22 and Mani Majra are also prepared to take initial care of some patients. Sufficient stocks of testing kits are available with all the hospitals,” the statement added.

Amid mounting global concerns over Omicron, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday stressed the need to be proactive. He had also directed officials to review plans on easing of international travel restrictions.

(With inputs from PTI)

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