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Some foreign returnees untraceable in Vizag amid Omicron fears

December 03, 2021 16:31 IST

Amid concerns over COVID-19 new variant 'Omicron', Visakhapatnam District Collector Mallikarjuna said on Friday that some international returnees who might have come to Visakhapatnam from Bengaluru, Chennai or Hyderabad are untraceable.

IMAGE: Travellers wait in a queue to enter Terminal-3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

He informed that the administration has received a list of international returnees who might have come to Visakhapatnam from Bengaluru, Chennai or Hyderabad. He said that some of them have been traced while some are untraceable.

"Protocol is very clear. Once any international traveller test positive, apart from following the routine protocol of containment and treatment, we are sending their samples to genome sequencing," said Mallikarjuna.


The District Collector also said that the administration is prepared for any kind of situation that may arise in the coming times with regards to COVID-19.

"We have set up an RT-PCR testing facility at Visakhapatnam airport for travellers. District officials have also been geared up over omicron alert. Around 7,500 beds are available in the district which also includes oxygen beds," he added.

The Centre on Thursday informed that two people have tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Karnataka.

A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.

On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'.

Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.

The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.

India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection.

Source: ANI