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TN Rubbishes Claims That Two Air Travellers Who Tested Positive Had Omicron

TN Rubbishes Claims That Two Air Travellers Who Tested Positive Had Omicron

Illustration: PIRO4D/pixabay

Chennai: Two international air travellers, including a child, who had arrived in Tamil Nadu from Singapore and the UK have tested positive for COVID-19 and the government ruled out social media reports claiming they were cases of Omicron but said tests only would conclude if they are infected with the latest variant of the coronavirus.

The minister for health and family welfare, Ma Subramanian, told reporters here a man who arrived from Singapore to Tiruchirappally and a child who had come along with its family from the UK had tested positive for COVID-19 and regretted that there were claims in social media that both were infected with the Omicron variant.

India has deemed both the UK and Singapore to be ‘at risk’ countries. Travellers from ports of origin in these countries are required to undergo RT-PCR tests on arrival.

“The passenger from Singapore arrived at Tiruchirappally at 3:30 am on Friday. He tested positive and has been shifted to the local medical college where he has been quarantined,” Subramanian said. “His sample will undergo genome sequencing and we have a facility here for this purpose. However, it will also be sent to a lab in Bengaluru and only after that result would we come to know if he is infected with Omicron.”

“He is only COVID-positive as of now,” the minister added.

Without divulging much details about the second case, he said the child along with its family have been admitted to the King’s Institute here, where the relevant tests are being conducted.

Refuting social media claims that both the cases infection were of the omicron variants, Subramanian said: “We will be transparent in announcing the results” with a view to promoting public awareness, and also urged social media users to be careful about commenting on the “sensitive issue”.

The co-passengers seated in the front and rear rows of the flights in which these two individuals travelled as well as the flight crew have been tested, he said.

India’s first omicron cases were detected on Thursday, when two people in Bengaluru tested positive for the new variant. The Union health ministry said both these persons – both male, aged 66 years and 46 years – flew in from South Africa. However, statements released by the Bengaluru municipal corporation said one of them, aged 46, hadn’t travelled recently. Read The Wire Science‘s report for more.

Various restrictions and measures at airports, including stringent surveillance and testing measures, have been installed by various state governments.

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