Nigerian man is Tamil Nadu’s first Omicron patient

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Tamil Nadu’s first patient with the Omicron variant was confirmed on Thursday night

ByHT Correspondent, Chennai

Tamil Nadu’s first patient with the Omicron variant was confirmed on Thursday night. A 47-year-old man, who had travelled from Nigeria via Doha to Chennai, was found positive for the Covid variant.

“He was double vaccinated and he is stable,” health minister M Subramanian told a press conference.

Seven of the patient’s family members, including a 16-year-old child and one co-passenger who travelled with the patient from Doha, have all tested positive for Covid-19. Their samples were sent for genome testing and results are awaited.

“All eight of them have shown S Gene drop. All of them have a mild infection,” Subramanian said. The co-passenger is a resident of Chennai. They are being treated at Chennai’s King Institute. “There is fear that the eight of them could have Omicron.”

Tamil Nadu has made elaborate arrangements for surveillance of the Omicron variant. On November 29, the state decided to use Thermo Fischer TaqPath Assay at 12 RT-PCR government labs to detect the S gene drop, which is a marker of probable Omicron as per the recommendations of the WHO.

The four international airports in Tamil Nadu are conducting RT-PCR tests for passengers from high-risk countries on arrival. They cannot leave the airport until the results are released so airports have been asked to make arrangements for the comfort of passengers. If they are positive, they will be sent to government hospitals and if they test negative, they have to quarantine at home for a week and repeat and RT-PCR test on the eighth day. The samples are being sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for genome sequencing.

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