State Health Minister Ma Subramaniam on Friday clarified that there is no case of Omicron Covid variant in Tamil Nadu after reports surfaced on social media that one case each was reported in Tiruchi and Chennai.

At Tiruchi, a passenger who arrived from Singapore reported positive for Covid, and was quarantined at the government hospital. The person’s sample will be sent for Whole Genome Sequencing at the government’s new lab in Chennai, and also to a private lab in Bengaluru. The minister said that the type of Covid variant can be ascertained only after the results came.

In Chennai airport, a 10-year child tested positive, and has been quarantined along with the family at the Kings Institute, he told newspersons at the Department of Public Health.

Some of the passengers who travelled in both the flights will be tested. “We will not hide any information from the public. We are transparent and will provide the correct information if it is Omicron to create awareness among the public,” he said. The minister advised people to restrain from posting misleading information on social media as the issue is sensitive.

‘Stringent measures in place’

The minister said the State government as directed by the Union Health department has taken all steps to screen international passengers at the international airports of Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Madurai . On Thursday, the minister along with Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and senior health department officials visited Tiruchi, Madurai and Coimbatore to inspect the measures in place there.

Also read: Mild rise in daily Covid cases in Chennai

The minister said that for those passengers coming from 11 high-risk countries, including the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Botswana, Israel, Singapore and Sri Lanka, will be screened at the international airports and RTCPR tests will be done. Even if they are negative, seven days quarantine has been advised, and their movements will be monitored to ensure they don’t step out. If anybody turns positive from the high-risk countries, they will be admitted in special wards at government hospitals, he said.

For those passengers coming from low-risk countries, random sample tests (2 per cent of total passengers) are being done at the four international airports and till Thursday night, a total of 1,868 samples were tested, he said.