Samples of Andhra man sent for genome sequencing amid Omicron scare


Omicron scare gripped Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district as authorities have sent samples of a man who recently returned from South Africa and tested positive for Covid-19 for genome sequencing.

The man was under home isolation in Srikakulam town and his samples were sent to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad for genome sequencing.

Srikakulam district collector Srikesh Lathkar said the genome sequencing report was awaited. He said it was only after receipt of the report that it can be confirmed if he was infected by Omicron or not. The collector said people need not panic as all necessary steps were taken to tackle the case.

The man hailing from Santabommali in Srikakulam district returned from South Africa on November 23 and had tested negative after a Covid test was done at the airport. However, he later developed fever and on December 5 got another test done at a local Primary Health Centre which turned out to be positive.

As the word spread, fear gripped the area in view of reports about few Omicron cases being reported in other parts of the country among the passengers who returned from ‘at risk’ countries, including South Africa.

Officials said the man and his family members were under home isolation. As the rumours spread on social media that the man was infected by Omicron, health officials clarified that the samples were sent to CCMB for confirmation.

No case of Omicron has been detected so far in Andhra Pradesh. Director of public health and family welfare Dr Hymavathi also denied reports that 30 foreign returnees were missing in the state.

Andhra Pradesh has no international airport but the state is receiving alerts from the central authorities about the passengers returning to the state from aat risk’ countries after landing at Hyderabad, Chennai or other international airports in the country.

About 30 passengers from the Visakhapatnam region returned last week and their health was being monitored by the state medical and health department.

The health department has also deployed medical teams at all airports in the state to monitor and screen the travellers.

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