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Passenger from South Africa lands in Mumbai via Delhi, tests positive

“The passenger flew from Cape Town to Delhi, stopping in Dubai along the way. He was allowed to board the connecting flight to Mumbai after giving a sample in Delhi. He was found to be positive upon arrival in Mumbai. He has been quarantined at home because he is asymptomatic. “The corporation quarantined him in an institution later,” said Pratibha Panpatil, the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation’s Chief Medical Officer (KDMC).

A 32-year-old Dombivli resident who arrived from South Africa via Delhi on November 24 tested positive upon arrival, though health officials are still trying to figure out if he has the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The airport authorities have been notified, and efforts are underway to locate the man’s fellow passengers, according to KDMC health officials.

“We have sent his samples for genome sequencing to find out if he is carrying the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Pradeep Vyas, Additional Chief Secretary (Health).

Samples for RT-PCR tests must be submitted on landing, according to the Centre’s November 11 guidelines for international passengers, after which passengers are allowed to leave the airport. Passengers must adhere to a seven-day home quarantine, with a mandatory retest on the eighth day.

In response to growing concerns about the Omicron variant, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has begun contacting 466 passengers from “countries of concern,” including South Africa, who arrived in the city in the last 15 days, and will collect swab samples for RT-PCR tests. According to officials, 97 of the 466 passengers who arrived in Mumbai are Mumbai residents. All passengers are being contacted individually by the civic body for health updates.

“The passengers who live in Mumbai are unaffected.” Everyone is quarantined at home. On Monday, we’ll conduct RT-PCR tests on them,” BMC Additional Commissioner Suresh Kakani said.

According to sources, the state government is considering requiring passengers flying into the city from — or transiting through — countries of concern to undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine. According to sources, the government is likely to reinstate the rule requiring domestic passengers to have a negative RT-PCR test before entering the state.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a Covid-19 review meeting with Health Minister Rajesh Tope, senior government officials, state Covid task force members, divisional commissioners, and district collectors to discuss these measures.

According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, Thackeray instructed officials to conduct tests on international and domestic passengers arriving at airports and to take neQcessary steps without waiting for the Centre’s instructions.

He requested that international passengers who arrive elsewhere in the country and travel to Maharashtra via domestic airlines, roads, and railways be monitored on a “war footing.”

It was discussed whether passengers flying from or transiting through South Africa and other southern African countries should be subjected to institutional quarantine. “The suggestion was to have a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine for these passengers,” a government official said.

The BMC proposed to the state government on Saturday that passengers flying from or transiting through South Africa be required to undergo a 14-day institutional quarantine.

According to sources, the state government is expected to issue an order regarding these restrictions within the next one or two days.

“The Omicron variant’s challenge is concerning. Under any circumstances, care should be taken to ensure that the risk of infection (new variant) does not increase. When the infection spreads, a solution like lockdown becomes unaffordable. To avoid it, restrictions such as wearing a mask on a regular basis, avoiding unnecessary crowding, and maintaining a safe distance must be adhered to, according to the Chief Minister, who also stated that violators would face severe consequences.

Thackeray requested that officials check the availability of oxygen and medicines, as well as conduct hospital fire audits. He also stressed the importance of receiving both vaccine doses.

Thackeray asked district officials in Chandrapur, Palghar, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Gadchiroli, Jalna, Buldhana, Solapur, and other districts with vaccination coverage below 30% to increase vaccination coverage.

On Monday, the governor will preside over a state cabinet meeting. Apart from the decision on the caste validity of backward class candidates in local body elections, the cabinet is expected to discuss the new Covid variant and vaccination, according to sources.

Dr. Pradeep Vyas, Additional Chief Secretary for Health, said the government would strengthen the ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccine’ principle. He stated that daily testing would be increased to more than 11 lakh per day, up from the current state-wide average of 6.5 lakh per day.

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar had previously stated that passengers arriving at the city airport from South Africa would be quarantined and their genomes sequenced if they tested positive for Covid-19.

BMC has now decided to run genome sequencing on all Covid-19 positive international passengers, regardless of their country of origin, as part of their testing protocols.

“We aren’t getting enough samples to run the genome sequencing because there aren’t enough active Covid-19 cases,” Kakani explained. “So we’ve decided to test all COVID positive international passengers.”

In the event of a surge in Covid-19 patients, hospitals have kept beds on standby. Only 1,100 of the 17,380 beds available in Covid’s dedicated health facilities are currently occupied.

The state has increased its oxygen production capacity to 2,500MT from 1,200MT to help patients in the event of a possible third wave. The state plans to reach 3,838MT in the next two months, according to N Ramaswami, Commissioner of the National Health Mission.

“We have 513 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants installed across the district.” “We’ve completed over half of the installation work and are working on the rest,” he said.

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