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|mplement stringent Anti- omicron precautionary measures : Dr Naresh Purohit

Bhopal 12.03.2021. Reports of six passengers who tested positive on arrival from South Africa or other high-risk countries in Maharashtra have raised concerns over new corona virus strain omicron. This warrants a
need to implement a slew of stringent precautionary measures to curb the spread of covid, said Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor-National Communicable Disease Control Programme.
Dr Purohit averred that
all inbound international travellers found with the symptoms of influenza like Illness (ILI) should be screened for S gene drop out using the Thermo Taqpath kit.

As per World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines , diagnostic test kits with two confirmatory gene target, with at least one being the ‘S’ gene, should be used for early detection of the Omicron variant of Covid.

He stated that
as the ‘S’ gene target failure (SGTF) is indicated for Omicron. RT-PCR laboratories testing samples of international passengers should use kits that will detect the ‘S’ gene dropout. This may lead to efficient detection of the Omicron variant of Covid.
He added that such kits can be used as proxy tests for the Omicron variant pending sequencing confirmation.

Dr Purohit averred that the laboratories should prioritize specimens with SGTF (no detection for the ‘S’ gene and detection for other gene targets) for genomic sequencing and confirmation of the Omicorn.

He stated that
omicron is one more reminder that the pandemic is not yet over and has not even taken a pause.
There are uncertainties connected with Omicron posing a serious challenge for our country, national health systems and the public.
Acclaimed Physician Dr Purohit said that at the individual level, the best way to deal with the uncertainty is to focus on measures that reduce or minimise the risk of Covid-19, like wearing masks, hand hygiene and physical distancing. Other steps like improving the ventilation of indoor spaces and avoiding crowded spaces can also reduce the risk.
He pointed that in the past few months, complacency had set in and people are either not wearing masks or wearing them incorrectly. Large social, religious and political gatherings are being held everywhere with no social distancing.

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