The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Omicron as a highly transmissible virus of concern
Mumbai: Owing to the increasing concerns of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, people coming from South Africa will have to undergo quarantine and genome testing in Mumbai. The Maharashtra Government has also asked the civic bodies in the state to be ready to tackle the possible outbreak of the new variant.
Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar on Saturday announced that passengers returning from South Africa will be quarantined on their arrival in the city and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing.
“There is no restriction on outbound flights in any way. But this decision has been taken keeping in view the past experience. There is an increased risk of coronavirus in foreign countries, so those coming from outside will have to undergo genome tests,” said Ms Pednekar.
The new B.1.1.529 variant, which has been named as ‘Omnicron,’ was first detected in South Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern. In India, according to norms set by the Union Health Ministry passengers coming from ‘at-risk’ countries need to submit their samples at the airport for RT-PCR testing.
The countries in Europe including the United Kingdom and South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel have been put in the ‘at-risk’ category.
Meanwhile, state urban development minister Eknath Shinde held an emergency meeting of collectors and municipal commissioners in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). He directed to carry out the structural, fire and electric audit of all hospitals and Covid centres in the MMR areas. He also asked to keep the ICU, oxygen and ventilator units in these hospitals ready for the possibility of any threat.
“Though coronavirus cases in the state are coming down, people and the administration have seemed to become complacent. The Covid-19 safety guidelines are not being followed strictly by the people. We just cannot afford to be negligent,” said Mr Shinde.
The minister also instructed the MMR civic officials to procure the list of passengers, who have arrived from ‘at-risk’ countries in the last 14 days from the airport authorities.