Omicron COVID Variant: Odisha Staring At ‘Probable Danger’ With 46 Lakh Unvaccinated Population

Bhubaneswar: With Omicron variant of COVID-19 raising its ugly head, a large number of unvaccinated population has become a headache of the Odisha administration.

The government could achieve 86% of the 90% vaccination target of the first dose by November-end. “While 46 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha are yet to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 31 lakh people have skipped the second dose,” informed Family Welfare Director Bijay Panigrahi on Thursday.

He also appealed to all eligible beneficiaries to get themselves vaccinated.

Odisha had set a target to innoculate all eligible beneficiaries with the first shot by the end of December.

While 79,39,42,502 people have been administered the first dose, 45,98,57,360 have been fully vaccinated in the state.

The appeal followed reports that 380 people had arrived in Odisha from foreign countries after the new strain was detected.

Briefing mediapersons, Director of Public Health Niranjan Mishra said 224 people returned to the state from Omicron “at-risk” countries till November 28 while the remaining 156 arrived on November 29.

He informed that all returnees are undergoing RT-PCR test on their arrival and those who tested negative were asked to remain under seven-day home quarantine mandatorily and again undergo the test on the eighth day

“The details have been shared with district administrations. They will trace the returnees and get their test done on the eighth day. If anyone tests positive after that, he/she will either be sent to institutional isolation or kept under self-observation for the next seven days. Besides, the positive samples will be sent for genome sequencing,” he added.

Notably, two foreigners — one from Togo, the other from Sri Lanka who landed on Tuesday — tested negative.

Also Read: 380 Travellers Arrived In Odisha From Foreign Countries Since Omicron Was Detected; Govt Yet To Trace Them

Vaccination drive also assumes importance with health officials warning that newly detected super mutant Omicron variant is most likely to outcompete COVID infections caused by Delta strain in South Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also confirmed that the Omicron variant has now spread to as many as 23 countries.

According to National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the variant has, so far, been detected in five of South Africa’s nine provinces and accounted for 74 per cent of the virus genomes sequenced in November.

Meanwhile, a cluster outbreak of COVID cases has been reported from another school in Odisha. 33 students of a Plus II residential college at Kunjakanta in Dhenkanal have tested positive for the virus. The campus has been declared a micro containment zone for a period of 10 days (7 am of December 1 to 7 am of December 10).

OB Bureau

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