The number of Omicron cases in Telangana has gone up to eight, Telangana Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao said at a press meet on Friday, December 17. While seven of these patients were in Hyderabad, one of them was a UK returnee in Hanumakonda district, the DPH said. As of Friday afternoon, seven of the known Omicron patients had been traced and were being monitored at the government isolation centre at TIMS (Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Research) Gachibowli. Efforts were on to trace one person, and a containment zone was formed at Paramount colony as part of these measures, Srinivasa Rao said.
Of the eight Omicron cases detected as part of tests done at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad, two were among passengers who flew in from ‘at-risk’ countries, while the remaining six cases were among people who have arrived from non-at-risk countries. An Omicron case was also detected at the Hyderabad airport in a seven-year-old boy, who directly left for Kolkata right after his sample was collected, so he has been included in West Bengal's Omicron tally.
Srinivasa Rao said that 2% random samples were being tested and sequenced among passengers from non-at-risk countries as per Union government guidelines. However, authorities in Hyderabad were focusing on testing more of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers, he said. Out of the eight Omicron cases detected in Telangana, only two were fully vaccinated, he added. Among the nine Omicron patients including the child who travelled to West Bengal, three of them had arrived from Kenya, two from Dubai, and one each from Abu Dhabi, Sudan, UK, and Czech Republic.
As per protocol, passengers arriving from at-risk countries who test negative for coronavirus are required to remain under home quarantine, and undergo a COVID-19 test again on the eighth day of quarantine. It was in one such test that the Hanumakonda UK returnee was found to be infected with the Omicron variant, the DPH said. He added that all the Omicron patients in Telangana have been asymptomatic, while urging people to follow COVID-19 precautions and get vaccinated.
“If any local residents (without travel history) test positive for coronavirus, just continue with the usual treatment. Don't be too concerned with which variant. Genome sequencing is currently being done at the border level to prevent spread,” he said. He also asked people not to believe any rumours of a lockdown being imposed in the state due to Omicron cases.