State Health Minister Ma Subramanian said that in all Omicron cases detected so far, the patients were vaccinated and asymptomatic.

A municipal worker spraying disinfectant at a containment zone in Gurugram: Containment zones are back in Chennai as Omicron cases in Tamil Nadu rise to 45Image for representation/PTI
news Coronavirus Wednesday, December 29, 2021 - 14:37

With the National Institute of Virology confirming 11 more cases of Omicron in Tamil Nadu, thus taking the total number to 45, State Health Minister Ma Subramanian said on Wednesday, December 29, that there was no need to panic as all the cases detected so far are asymptomatic. After inspecting the city’s first COVID-19 containment zone in Chennai’s Ashok Nagar since the removal of lockdown restrictions during the second wave, the Minister also said that all the Omicron patients had availed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Minister visited the containment zone along with Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department Dr J Radhakrishnan, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi and other officials. As to the containment zone in Ashok Nagar, Radhakrishnan said it was the first in the city after the lockdown curbs were lifted. A cluster of 10 people infected with coronavirus was detected two to three days ago and the area has been cordoned off, he said.

Tamil Nadu had detected 129 persons with S-gene drop and their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV). On Tuesday, December 28, NIV confirmed 11 cases of Omicron (in addition to the previous 34 cases) and including 5 old cases, totally 16 persons are undergoing treatment now, the Health Minister said. About 29 persons out of 34 who tested for Omicron have been treated and discharged.

With the rising Omicron cases in mind, the government has established COVID-19 Care Centres at three places in the city with a total bed strength of 500. Preparations are on to revive the CCC at the Chennai Trade Centre and also to ramp up the RT-PCR testing to 25,000 tests per day, from the present 23,000 tests, in Chennai, the Minister said.

Asserting that the present situation is not alarming, the Minister said the emphasis should be more on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and people should come forward to get vaccinated to shield themselves from coronavirus and its variants. 

Pointing out that England and several countries world over were changing treatment protocols, asking asymptomatic persons to undergo treatment at home, the Minister said Tamil Nadu too would closely monitor the cases apart from following the guidelines. 

Inoculation against COVID-19 would help to protect the people, Subramanian said, and added that plans are on to ensure 100% vaccine coverage of the beneficiaries.

Already 86% of the population have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while the second dose has been administered to 58%, the Minister said. For its part, the GCC has initiated steps to make sure the entire eligible population is covered, including vaccinating those above 60 years, he added. Chief Minister MK Stalin will launch the vaccination drive for the 15 to 17 years age group at a camp in Porur on January 3 and it will be simultaneously initiated in all the schools across the State, Subramanian informed. 

Read: Tamil Nadu has to vaccinate 33.2 lakh teens in 15-18 age group

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