Omicron Fear: Hundreds Of Indian Returns From Africa Missing

As the threat of Omicron variant of Covid-19 looms large, hundreds of people who recently returned to India from African countries are found to be missing or untraceable. Officials are finding it tough to find them as they are not staying at the addresses mentioned in their passports. With this, there is fear among the government that Omicron variant may spread in India as well since Omicron is considered as potentially more transmissible.

According to reports, over 1000 people have landed in Mumbai from African countries in the last 15 days. Of which, 466 people have been traced by the BMC officials. Another 281 people have arrived in Bihar from African countries in the fortnight of which over 100 are untraceable. All these are raising alarm bell in the country.

Meanwhile, the BMC said the swab samples of 100 travellers out of the 466 were said to be collected so far.

“Out of the 466 travellers, 100 are from Mumbai. We have already collected their swab samples. Their reports are expected soon. It will be clear if they are positive or negative to coronavirus,” BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said.

The civic body is going to do genome sequencing for the positive samples, along with the S-gene missing test that is advised by the WHO for faster detection of the infection due to Omicron. S-gene missing test is faster way to ascertain infection without the genome sequencing.

If the S-gene is missing, in that case, it is presumed that he (traveller) may be infected (with Omicron), the BMC official Kakani said, adding that the genome sequencing will confirm the infection. 

Kerala state health minister announced that it has fielded health officials in four of its airports to conduct Covid-19 tests to international arrivals. The person who recently landed in Bengaluru from African country was tested Covid positive. But it is not clear yet whether it was Omicron variant or not.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday warned that the global risk from the Omicron variant is “very high” based on early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”