Bhubaneswar: With five states in India having reported a new rise in COVID-19 cases and discovery of a mutant strain in Maharashtra, the Odisha government on Monday warned that the state may also see an upsurge again.
Director (Public Health) Niranjan Mishra said there has been no report of the new mutant strain in Odisha till date.
Notably, a resident of Bhadrak, who had recently returned from Maharashtra, had tested postive for COVID-19. This had triggered alarm that the mutant may have entered Odisha.
However, Mishra said it cannot be ascertained if the strain found in Odisha is from Maharashtra. “The genome sequencing of the person in Bhadrak, who recently returned from Maharashtra, will reveal the details of the strain he carries,” he added.
The public health official informed that genome sequencing is done for people returning from foreign countries. But it is not done for people coming back from other states. There has been no order in this regard by the Odisha government yet, he said.
“While the genome sequencing of the people is done at the Biju Patnaik International Airport, instructions have been given to rev up the contact tracing and surveillance in the state. Apart from this, to ascertain the presence of the new mutant strain, the number of tests will be increased,” Mishra added.
He further said that the COVID hospitals that have been closed, will be reopened in case the virus spreads in the state.
Vaccination For 50+
Expressing hope that the vaccination of the people over 50 years will begin in the state very soon, he said their registration will tentatively begin in March.
Mishra advised the people to take all possible measures like wearing masks, hand washing and maintaining social distancing to keep the virus at bay.
Referring to the resurfacing of the new mutant strain, Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das said that the state government is keeping a close watch on the situation and will announce lockdown if more cases are reported.
He also advised the people to strictly adhere to the COVID guidelines.