Omicron threat: Maharashtra to screen passengers from 10 countries

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has decided to screen air passengers arriving to the state from at least 10 known countries where the much-feared new Coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’ has been detected, as per Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s directives, Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde said here on Saturday.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in consultation with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport will make available a list of all the passengers who have arrived from abroad in the past 14 days to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The officials will check the passengers who have arrived here from the 10 ‘high risk countries’ where the new and more dangerous Omicron variant has been detected — South Africa, Botswana, Brazil, China, Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong, Mauritius, New Zealand and others.

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The municipal commissioners and health department heads shall take all possible measures to tackle the potential dangers from Omicron, said Shinde.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that the passengers arriving here from the ‘high risk’ nations shall undergo compulsory institutional quarantine, and home isolation would not be permitted under any circumstances.

Kakani also informed about the measures being taken against the background of a possible danger.

If any patient of Omicron is found in any building in the city, the entire building will be sealed as a precaution, Kakani informed.

The minister further ordered all hospitals and their ICUs to inspect and ensure that all the treatment infrastructure is working well, with sufficient number of beds, stocks of liquid medical oxygen and ventilators to tackle any eventuality.

The emergency meeting was attended by top officials, including Principal Secretary U.D. Bhushan Gagrani, Kakani, collectors of Thane, Raigad, Palghar and other districts, all municipal commissioners and civic heads in the state.

The new Omicron variant has already resulted in a global scare with many countries clamping fresh air travel restrictions, world stock markets crashing, and several nations imposing fresh curbs for passengers from the countries where it has been detected.

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