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Div Com reviews preparedness for containment of Omicron variant

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Srinagar: In view of the spread of new Covid-19 variant ‘Omicron’ in different countries, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole chaired a special meeting of officers Tuesday to formulate the strategy for containment measures in Kashmir division.

The meeting was attended by MD, NHM; DC Budgam; ADC Srinagar; Director Health Services Kashmir, Director Airports, Principal, GMC Srinagar, CMO Srinagar, CMO Budgam, Incharge DCCRK,  SSO/ Epidemiologist Kashmir and other public health specialists of DCCRK.

In view of government advisory, the meeting decided that mandatory RT-PCR test of all international passengers should be conducted at Srinagar Airport irrespective of travellers previous negative report or fully vaccination status, an official press release informed.

It was also decided that if RT-PCR report turns negative, the passenger shall be kept under home quarantine for Ist week and again retested on 8th day of home quarantine or whenever traveller develops symptoms of ILI during the course of quarantine. If the report of RT-PCR comes negative he/she will self monitor for one more week at strict home quarantine.

However, if first test of an international traveler comes out positive, then the person will be shifted to DRDO Hospital Khunmoh and the testing sample shall be sent for whole genome sequencing to know whether they are infected by new Covid-19 variant of Omicron or any other strain.

At the outset, MD NHM Kashmir Yaseen Chowdary gave a presentation, sharing the information about the presence of new Covid variant in some countries and travel-related cases in other nations.

It was informed that B.1.1.529 new variant is possibly 500 percent competitively more infectious and has rapidly spread in South Africa, some European countries, and some Asian countries as well. Besides, it was also informed that WHO guidance note mentions that  current RT-PCR test continues to be effective in detecting  the new  variant.

The DCCR Kashmir also gave the plan for strengthening surveillance of international passengers, enhanced testing, monitoring of hot spots, ensuring augmentation of health infrastructure, prompt dispatch of genome sequencing and other actions.

Div Com stressed on widespread campaigning of Do’s and Don’ts, IEC for confidence building and fear mitigation especially IEC materials with messaging and information in local language for ASHAs, ANMs and other stakeholders.

He also directed to strengthen the call centre for monitoring of suspected cases under home quarantine, besides once again starting capacity building of clinicians and paramedical health workers, refresher trainings on PSAs, ventilator experts, clinical management, operationalise the real-time dashboards for tracking available health infrastructure and oxygen status and other important information in view of the threat of this new variant.

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