Authorities said that the contacts of the people were being traced and the gene sequencing results of some more people were awaited.

A woman in a pink kurta being tested for the coronavirusImage for representation
news Omicron Thursday, December 23, 2021 - 10:23

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday, December 23, reported 33 new cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Out of the new cases, 26 were reported in Chennai. This takes the total tally of Omicron cases in the state to 34. The announcement was made by Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian. Authorities said that the contacts of the people were being traced and the gene sequencing results of some more people were awaited. J Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare urged the people to follow COVID-19 safety protocol and said that there was no need to panic. Officials also urged people to get both doses of the vaccine at the earliest. Further details are awaited. 

As many as 104 people who arrived in Tamil Nadu from various countries have tested COVID-19 positive till date, of whom 82 were detected with the 'S gene drop' variant of coronavirus, state Minister Ma Subramanian said on Wednesday, December 22. The samples of the 82 passengers have been sent to the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru, for genomic sequencing analysis, the Minister for Medical and Family Welfare said. "All the 82 passengers are fine", he told reporters.

To a query, a health department official told PTI all the 104 passengers are those arriving from 'at risk' and 'non-risk' countries to Tamil Nadu with effect from December 1. On test samples already sent to inStem last week, he said the department has received the results of 13 people who were tested, of which one was confirmed to have the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Delta variant in eight and four 'non-sequence'.

On December 15, Tamil Nadu declared its first Omicron variant of coronavirus, which was a 47-year-old passenger who arrived from Nigeria. Meanwhile, to step up surveillance at international airports, the government has requested the Union government to allow the Health Department to conduct COVID-19 tests of all international passengers arriving to Tamil Nadu, as against the current practice of testing those arriving from 'at risk' countries, the minister said.

On the vaccination front, he said the 16th state-wide mega vaccination camp would be held on December 26 (Sunday), targeting 93 lakh people who are eligible to receive the second dose of vaccination. Earlier in the day, Subramanian declared open 'digital display boards' at the Government Kilpauk Medical College premises, following the announcement made in the state assembly.

In the first phase, 25 government medical college hospitals would be equipped with such digital display boards, totally costing Rs 1.25 crore, which would inform patients about the services offered in the respective hospitals, he said. The information displayed on the boards would be in Tamil and English, he said.

(With PTI inputs)