At least 1,000 travellers landed in Mumbai in the last fortnight from African countries where the potentially more transmissible ‘Omicron’ variant of coronavirus has been detected, a senior official of the city civic body said.
Swab samples were collected of at least 100 travellers out of the 466 whose list was received so far, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said.
Speaking to news agency PTI, Kakani said the airport authority has informed that around 1,000 travellers had landed in Mumbai from African countries in the last fortnight, but it has handed over a list of only 466 such passengers so far.
“Out of the 466 travellers, 100 are from Mumbai. We have already collected their swab samples. By tomorrow or a day after tomorrow, their reports are expected. It will be clear if they are positive or negative to coronavirus," Kakani said.
“There won’t be an issue if their test report is negative, but the civic body is going to conduct genome sequencing of positive samples, along with S-gene missing test that is advised by the WHO for faster detection of infection due to Omicron, without genome sequencing," he said.
If S-gene is missing, in that case, it is presumed that he (traveller) may be infected (with Omicron), Kakani said, adding that the genome sequencing will confirm the infection.
Kakani said that infected travellers, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, will be shifted to the civic body’s institutional quarantine facility at the civic-run Seven Hills Hospital in suburban Andheri.
According to Kakani, amid rising concerns over Omicron, the BMC has kept all the five hospitals and jumbo facilities ready.
“Measures are being taken for the structural audit, fire audit, oxygen supply system audit, besides for stocking adequate medicines and appointment of manpower. Five jumbo centres are already functioning. We have to upgrade the facilities. One or two wards are already activated, but as and when required, we can activate more wards in the same jumbo facilities," he added.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had classified the Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.