New Delhi [India], December 3 (ANI): Union Health Minister Manuskh Mandaviya said on Friday that RT-PCR tests have been done of 16,000 passengers from 'at risk' countries and 18 samples have been sent for genome sequencing to determine if they have Omicron variant of the virus or not.
The minister said Karnataka, where two samples have shown Omicron strain, has been asked to take all precautions so that there is no spread of infection.
"RT-PCR testing of over 16,000 pax arriving on 58 flights from 'at risk' countries done so far. Eighteen of these tested positive for in RT-PCR testing, their genome sequencing is underway so that it can be determined if they have Omicron variant or not," the minister said during his reply to the marathon debate on the COVID-19 situation in the Lok Sabha.
The minister said RT-PCR tests are being done of passengers from "at risk" countries and revised guidelines have been issued for travel from these countries.
He said there are 373 cases of Omicron, classified as a variant of concern by WHO, in 29 countries.
Mandaviya said Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with officials after South Africa reported about the new variant to WHO and Union Health Secretary held meeting with states.
The minister all COVID-19 positive cases at airports are being sent for genome sequencing.
He said a South African national, who had been detected with Omnicron variant, was found negative for COVID-19 in a subsequent test in Bengaluru and left for his home country on November 27. The minister said his 12 primary contacts and 200 secondary contacts had been traced and they had tested negative for coronavirus.
He said three family members and 160 other contacts of 46-year old Indian nationals in Bengaluru, who had also been found affected by the Omicron variant, had been tested and five samples, which had tested positive, had been sent for genome sequencing.
Mandaviya said 75 members took part in the debate which lasted nearly 12 hours.
The debate concluded past midnight yesterday and the minister gave his reply today. (ANI)