Amid the global Omicron variant scare, a 35-year-old woman who arrived a the international airport here from the UK has tested positive for COVID-19 and her samples have been sent for genome sequencing. The genome sequencing would throw light on the virus variant she is infected with, state Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao said on Thursday.
The woman has since been shifted to the state-run Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) here for isolation and treatment. The woman was among the 325 passengers who arrived by two international flights on Wednesday. All other passengers tested negative for the virus. The state government has strengthened testing mechanisms at the Hyderabad international airport, among other measures, in the wake of the threat of the 'Omicron' variant. RT-PCR tests are being conducted for passengers arriving from the 11 countries which have been declared "at risk" by the Centre. Rao said the Telangana health department has asked enforcement authorities to keep a watch on mask-wearing in public places and a penalty of Rs 1,000 would be imposed for not wearing masks. A rule on imposition of the penalty already exists, he told reporters here.
In another measure to keep COVID-19 under check, he requested citizens to carry their COVID vaccination certificates in public places. The health staff would visit public places and randomly ask for vaccine certificates, he said. The teams would counsel those who have not yet taken vaccination.
The health department would urge the government to make it mandatory to carry vaccination certificates in public places. He regretted that over 25 lakh people in the state have not taken the second dose of vaccination even after the due date. The state government has so far vaccinated over 90 per cent of the eligible population with one dose and about 47 per cent with both doses. The official stressed the importance of vaccination and COVID-appropriate behaviour in the fight against the virus.