The Tamil Nadu government on Monday requested the Centre to grant the state permission, as a special case, to announce Omicron confirmed cases rather than wait for reports from the National Institute of Virology, owing to its expertise in whole genome sequencing.
Reiterating the demand for necessary approvals, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian claimed that by the time the NIV confirmed the samples, those testing positive in the state get discharged after treatment. "Practically, by the time the samples get confirmed, those who test positive get treated and are discharged from the hospital," he said while talking to reporters in Chennai. Hence, the Centre should grant permission to Tamil Nadu, as a special case, to enable it provide daily updates on the Omicron cases, he argued.
Elaborating, Subramanian said of the 97 persons recently detected with S-gene drop in Tamil Nadu, the NIV confirmed the presence of Omicron variant in 34, of whom 18 have already been discharged while 16 are undergoing treatment. Normally, results of the samples sent to the NIV for confirmation are received in about 10 days. "And by this time, the positive patients get treated and discharged," the Minister said.
Subramanian raised the issue of granting permission to the State-owned lab in Chennai at a meeting of the central team of experts, on a visit to the city. He also urged the Union government to grant permission to issue orders for compulsory seven day isolation and increased testing of international passengers from non-risk countries, as many of them have been found to have S-gene drop during random testing.
The four-member central team, which included Dr Vineeta, Dr Purbasa, Dr M Santhosh Kumar and Dr Dinesh Babu, inspected the oxygen production unit and storage facility, besides the Omicron ward, at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, the Minister said.