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As ‘Omicron’ concerns grow, Gujarat government mandates RT-PCR for travellers from several countries

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  • South Africa, Hong Kong, UK, Brazil and others on the list prepared by the Centre; additional Covid-related measures mandated for travellers from these countries

 

Gandhinagar/New Delhi: Detection of a new variant of coronavirus in South Africa, named ‘Omicron’, has triggered fears of a fresh wave of infection. Amid the concerns, Gujarat government has mandated RT-PCR tests for incoming travellers from a few countries.

WHO has classified Omicron (B.1.1.529) as a ‘Variant of Concern’. Several countries have already imposed ban on flights from South Africa.

India, too, has prepared a list of countries from where travelers coming to India will have to follow additional measures related to Covid-19. Besides Europe, these include UK, Brazil, South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong.

In an order, the Gujarat government has mandated that travellers from these countries landing at any airport of the state will have to undergo RT-PCR testing.

A senior health department official said that this order is based on the instructions by the government of India.

 

Omicron has large number of mutations

The Omicron variant has evinced lot of interest because of the large number of mutations. WHO has said that some of these mutations are of concern. According to reports, these mutations are associated with immune escape and increased transmissibility.

 

Speed up vaccination

For a densely populated country like India, the concerns increase manifold. Hence, experts have urged for faster immunization of the entire population.

Currently, a large section of the population, including children and several adults, has not been vaccinated.

So far, over 1.21 billion doses of the Covid vaccine have been administered in the country. Over 43.15 crore have received the second dose, meaning they are fully vaccinated.

To fight any strain effectively, it is necessary for the population to be vaccinated with both doses, experts opine, explaining the urgency to cover the entire population.

 

 

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