Hyderabad airport stops surveillance of Omicron cases

Telangana health director said that the variant has now spread in community and it will be pointless to screen passengers at airport.

International passengers arriving at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) Hyderabad won’t be tested for the Omicron variant of COVID-19, because the variant has spread in the community. No further surveillance for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is done at RGIA because officials find it to be an exercise in futility.

The director of public health and family welfare Dr G Srinivas Rao said screening passengers travelling from overseas would bring no further benefit to Covid control in the city or state.

Airport monitoring for the Omicron variant began on December 1, and 90 passengers coming in the city from at-risk and non-risk nations tested positive for the Omicron strain by January 5.

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The majority of them who tested positive for the Omicron variant were foreign nationals visiting the city for ‘medical tourism.’ Four others were identified as local contacts or those whose omicron infection could not be traced.

Dr Srinivasa Rao stated that the airport Omicron monitoring data would be removed from the health department’s daily Covid-19 report beginning Thursday.

More than 70 percent of Covid-19 cases being detected in Telangana may be cases of Omicron as the new variant has already spread in the community.

“Omicron is already in the community. Our estimates are that more than 70 percent are Omicron cases. We cannot do genome sequencing for all,” said Dr Rao.

The official warned that a bigger surge in cases in Telangana is likely after the Sankranti festival this month.

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