Bhubaneswar: The new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ is said to be five times more transmissible than Delta strain that caused more serious diseases and increased risk of death across the globe.
“Omicron is transmitting people 5 times more than Delta variant of COVID-19. However, it is yet to ascertain severity caused by the new variant. The symptoms of Omicron are similar to earlier variants. The study is still underway on effects of COVID vaccines against the new strain,” said State Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra.
He said that the State Government is prepared to tackle the possible situation. The Health Department has kept vigil on foreign returnees especially the travellers visiting from ‘at-risk’ countries.
As daily COVID-19 cases are on decline in Odisha, the special COVID hospitals have been kept on standby mode. When necessary, the hospitals will remain functional in two to three days, the official said.
He added that the authorities have intensified COVID test on persons with foreign travel history. Currently, the Government is identifying foreign returnees registered on Air Suvidha portal. The testing will also be conducted on basis of inputs received from the local representatives.
He made it clear that people coming from other countries are not allowed to stay in home isolation after their arrival in airport.
“There is no home isolation facility for returnees infected with Omicron. Those tested positive will be kept in separate ward of hospitals to ensure they will not come in contact with other patients,” he said.