CHANDIGARH: A 39-year-old man, who had recently returned from South Africa on November 21, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, and to ascertain if the man is positive for the new Omicron variant, his samples were sent for genome sequencing, shared the UT health officials.
Meanwhile, amid concerns over the new variant, the UT administration has stepped up surveillance of those returning from abroad.
Besides the man, his wife and domestic help have also tested positive for Covid-19, while two of his family members tested negative. Test report of one other family member is awaited.
According to UT health secretary, Yashpal Garg, the patients are being shifted to an institutional quarantine facility at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector-32, as per protocol. The samples have been sent for complete genome sequencing to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, to find out if the variant or variant of concern (VoC) is present, he shared.
According to the UT health officials, the man, a resident of Chandigarh’s Sector 36, had tested RT-PCR negative, twice, upon his arrival at the airport – once at Delhi airport and the other time at the Chandigarh airport. Thereafter, he was quarantined at his residence and re-tested on Monday. Those reports came out to be positive. His RT-PCR test report before he set out for India also states that he is Covid negative.
The UT health department has also started contact tracing of the family, since it is not clear if this is a new variant case. Besides, the officials also issued a strict advisory for people to follow Covid-19 guidelines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that the risk related to Omicron – the new variant of Covid-19 – is “very high”. The global health body said that the B.1.1.529 strain, first found in South Africa, is “highly divergent” and is likely to spread internationally at a very high speed and could possibly have severe consequences.
A senior official, on the condition of anonymity, said that they came to know that some of the family members of the patient were already showing “Covid-like” symptoms.
The officials insisted that the administration is on high alert and prepared to handle any crisis should there be a fresh outbreak.