Omicron scare: Border dists asked to increase Covid sample tests

Omicron scare: Border dists asked to increase Covid sample tests

Kolkata: In the wake of the Omicron scare, the state Health department has urged all the bordering districts to increase the number of daily Covid sample tests and also to conduct genome sequencing of those found positive with Covid in a large number.

Health department has laid an emphasis on genome sequencing of positive samples in the districts where Bangladeshi nationals enter and pass through.

North Bengal districts which are used as corridors have also been alerted. A large number of people enter Bengal from Bangladesh through various districts. Bangladesh has already been identified as a risk country. Genome sequencing is performed at the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kalyani.

The state Health department plans to take initiatives to conduct genome sequencing in a state government-owned institution to detect the mutant and examine the changes in the genetic structure of various Covid variants. This will help the Health department to combat the pandemic in a better way.

The department is keen on setting up a genome sequencing center at any of the state-owned hospitals in the city.

One of the prestigious institutions — School of Tropical Medicine — is one of the front runners to get a genome sequencing centre.

If the state government develops a parallel infrastructure, it will help the department to identify new variants of Covid.It may be mentioned here that the seven-year-old only Omicron positive patient of Bengal recovered and released from the hospital within a very short span of time. The patient, a resident of Murshidabad who had arrived in Kolkata on December 11 from Abu Dhabi via Hyderabad and had tested positive for Omicron finally tested negative to Omicron on Thursday giving a sigh of relief to the health officials.

His was the only Omicron positive case in the state so far. An elderly man tested positive for Covid after returning from Nigeria. His sample has been sent for genome sequencing.

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