Tamil Nadu sees 76 new Omicron cases, Health Min says sign of community transfer

Health Minister Ma Subramaniam urged the public to get vaccinated immediately to prevent further spreading of the coronavirus.
Two health workers in blue PPE suits sitting down in a hospital
Two health workers in blue PPE suits sitting down in a hospital
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Tamil Nadu on Friday, December 31, reported a surge in new cases of Omicron with 76 cases being infected with the new coronavirus variant. With this, the total number of cases was 120, thereby breaching the triple digit-mark in the state, the Health Department said. Till Thursday, the total cases stood at 46. Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian said the 76 cases of Omicron was an indication of community spread of the variant in the state, and that vaccination was the only solution to prevent its further spread.

The Minister for Medical and Family Welfare, talking to reporters, said 34 students have tested positive for the coronavirus in Chennai and were under treatment at a COVID Care Centre. "Today, we announced 76 new Omicron cases. This is an indication of the community spread of the virus. The satisfying news we receive is that those who are affected by Omicron have tested negative after four days of treatment and were discharged from hospitals after recovery," he said.

According to a bulletin, the overall Omicron cases in Tamil Nadu stands at 120 of which 66 discharged leaving 52 active cases. Two of the cases have been notified to Kerala and Puducherry. Subramanian said the 34 students were taking coaching for the national eligibility-cum-entrance test (NEET) and after one student was identified to be infected by COVID-19, 90 of his primary and secondary contacts were traced and tested by the officials of Greater Chennai Corporation. "Of this, 34 of them tested positive. Two of the students were admitted to hospital, while 32 of them are under treatment in the Covid Care Centre at Injambakkam. They are staying in ventilated rooms and are well taken care of by the Greater Chennai Corporation," he said.

Stating that the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus were spreading fast, he said getting vaccinated was the only solution to fight the pandemic and appealed to people to receive the jabs. "Of the total population, 86% have received a single dose of the vaccine while 58% of those have received the second dose as well. Another 94 lakh people are awaiting to receive the second dose," he said.

On January 2, the 17th edition of the mega vaccination camp would be held, he said and asked those who are eligible to receive the vaccination to make use of the opportunity.

To a query, he said Chief Minister MK Stalin would inaugurate the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 15-18 years at a government school in Porur on January 3. "Around 1,000 students are eligible to receive the jabs. The Chief Minister will inaugurate it on Monday and from that day, the Health Department will trace who are eligible to receive the vaccinations in the 15-18 years age group and administer the vaccine," he said.

To another query, he said the health lab in Tamil Nadu has received the approval from the Union government to perform the genomic sequencing analysis. "With this, we do not require the samples to be sent to Pune or Bengaluru for getting the results. We will be able to declare the results from our own lab," he said.

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