Chennai, Dec 15: A 47-year-old man who had arrived from Nigeria and six of his family members tested Covid-19 positive and their tests had S-gene drop raising the suspicion of being infected by Omicron were doing well, Tamil Nadu Minister Ma Subramanian said on Wednesday.
The Minister for Medical and Family Welfare said the officials of Greater Chennai Corporation were involved in monitoring the primary and secondary contacts of his family members.
Subramanian said the man has received two doses of vaccines and he, along with his family members, were asymptomatic and were ailing from cold, cough and body pain.
According to him, the man arrived in Chennai on December 10 via Doha tested positive for Covid-19 during the random RTPCR-sampling test currently undertaken for passengers arriving from non-risk countries.
"Even this (Wednesday) morning, I came to know about them that they were doing fine (at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research). The Greater Chennai Corporation officials are monitoring the primary and secondary contacts of the (six) family members", he told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Health Department principal secretary J Radhakrishnan, in a letter to Collectors, said it was time to ensure that all public health guidances be enforced and monitoring, apart from following the appropriate protocols in the wake of the spread of OMICRON variant in several States.
To a query, Subramanian said the samples of the members had variation in the labs in Chennai and to ascertain the facts, their samples have been sent to inStem Bengaluru. "We have asked them (inStem) to expedite the results. We expect them to be out in a day or two", he said.
vvStating that 12,039 people have arrived from "high risk" countries to Tamil Nadu till date, he said, 63,411 people till date have come from non-risk countries and the health department performed random sampling tests in 1,834 passengers who arrived from non-risk countries.
"Till date, 40 people have tested Covid-19 positive (including those arrived from high risk and non risk countries). Four of them have been declared as positive for 'Delta' variant and are under home quarantine. Thirty-six of the passengers are under treatment in various hospitals," he said.
All the samples (of the passengers) have been sent to Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru, for genomic sequence analysis, he said.
Radhakrishnan, in his message to the Collectors, said Delta variant was still prevalent and the new variant of concern OMICRON was also being reported from over 70 countries and many States and one returnee from Nigeria and six of his family members were detected with S-gene drop-target failure (in Tamil Nadu), which are markers of probable OMICRON variant of coronavirus.
Mask-wearing and social distancing were low in public places and the district administration should enforce the health guidance through coordination with all regulatory departments, he said.
"Increasing the pace of vaccinations of the un-vaccinated and those due for second dose be vaccinated," he said, adding the inventory of health facilities including oxygen beds, intensive care units, ventilators, medicines be reviewed at the government hospitals.
"We should not routinely report the numbers being sent every day on the availability and occupancy data due to very low occupancy, many wards would be temporarily unoccupied and would need cleaning up," he said.
With OMICRON variant of being concern, he said it is not a variant that would create panic but considering the pace of spread among the countries and messages from WHO advising following of all the preventive measures fully especially Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and vaccinations.
There has to be increased surveillance, testing, contact tracing of those with the positive index and those in touch with them should be done, he said.
"We should also advise those who give tests to self-isolate till the results come to avoid further accidental spread in case they return positive results," he said.