Tamil Nadu on Thursday reported 33 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, following genomic sequencing of samples collected from those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. With this, the state’s tally of Omicron cases rose to 34 cases, with just one case detected prior to Thursday.
“We received confirmation that 33 more people have tested positive for the new Omicron variant,” Health Minister Ma Subramanian said.
Addressing the press along with Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan this morning, Subramanian said that of the 33 cases, 26 patients were in Chennai, four in Madurai, two in Tiruvanamalai and one in Salem. All the patients are stable and under isolation, Subramanian added.
The suspected cases had been under observation for quite some time and some of them could soon return negative for the virus and may be discharged, he said.
Tamil Nadu reported its first case of Omicron on December 15 when a 47 year-old passenger who arrived from Nigeria tested positive.
As many as 104 people who have arrived in Tamil Nadu from various countries have tested Covid-19 positive till date. Of this number, 82 have been detected with the ‘S gene drop’ variant of coronavirus, Subramanian said. Their samples have been sent to the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru, for genomic sequencing analysis.
Meanwhile, to step up surveillance at international airports, the government has requested the Centre to allow the health department to conduct Covid-19 tests for all international passengers, against the current practice of testing only those arriving from ‘at risk’ countries.