Northeast’s first omicron variant case in poll-bound Manipur
The first case omicron variant of the coronavirus in the Northeast was detected in poll-bound Manipur on Monday.
A 48-year-old man, who had returned to the state from Tanzania on December 13, had tested positive on the eighth day of his arrival in India, Manipur health services director Dr K. Rajo Singh said in a statement. His sample was then sent for whole genome sequencing to Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development Takyelpat in Imphal West.
“As the omicron variant is spreading fast in various countries, all are to adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour and wear masks mandatorily. Masks have been found effective against all variants of Covid-19,” the statement said.
Singh told The Telegraph that the man from Imphal West works in Tanzania and has been in isolation in the government-run Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences while his three family members who have tested positive are also in quarantine.
The man was among the 480 international travellers on Covid-19 surveillance in Manipur. Presently 306 such travellers are under surveillance.
“The man who tested positive for the omicron variant on Monday had reached Delhi on December 11 and Imphal on December 13. He had tested negative at both places. He was in home isolation. We tested him again on December 20 and he tested Covid positive while genome sequencing detected the Omicron variant. He is asymptomatic. We are taking all possible measures to check the threat from Omicron,” Singh said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on November 26 designated omicron as “variant of concern”.
First detected in South Africa, it has now spread to 90 countries with 578 cases detected in India till Monday afternoon with Delhi, Maharashtra and Kerala leading the way with 142, 141 and 57 omicron cases respectively.
The detection of the omicron variant has come at a time when Manipur is witnessing heightened political activity ahead of the Assembly polls in March.
Manipur, which has 182 active Covid cases till Sunday, goes to polls along with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Punjab.
The Union health ministry on Monday is said to have submitted a report on the Covid situation in the poll-bound states to the Election Commission which is likely to announce the poll schedule by the first week of January. There has been growing concern over holding of polls amid surging Covid cases and threat posed by omicron.