The Northeast on Monday reported its first confirmed case of the Omicron Covid-19 in Manipur, official sources informed.
A 48-year-old man from Imphal West district, with a recent travel history to the East African country of Tanzania, tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19, sources in the Manipur health department said.
"The person, who had returned to Imphal on December 13, had tested RT-PCR positive for COVID-19 on the eighth day (December 21) and was kept in isolation. Subsequently, his sample was sent for genome sequencing, and today, it has been confirmed that the man has been infected with the Omicron variant, a health official informed.
The Omicron-infected person is currently undergoing treatment at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal.
"Three other family members of the infected person tested RT-PCR positive for COVID-19 on December 21 after contact tracing was done. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing," a health official informed.
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that states and Union Territories might consider imposing need-based, local curbs and restrictions, to control the crowds during the festive season.Meanwhile, in view of the new variant surfacing in the state, all screening centres at strategic locations in Manipur have been strengthened with additional manpower and equipment, besides keeping all ICU facilities in place to tackle the new variant of concern
The Manipur health department further requested people to keep calm, act responsibly by adhering to COVID-appropriate behaviour and get fully vaccinated in order to keep the new variant at bay.
Reportedly, over 450 international travellers have returned to Manipur till December 24 and are kept under surveillance. Of them, about 155 have already completed their 14 days of surveillance with all of them testing negative. All are being tested by RT-PCR on the eighth day of their arrival in India.
With the Northeast region registering its first confirmed case, the number of Omicron cases in India has risen to 579 so far, with Delhi reporting the highest number of cases at 142, followed by Maharashtra at 141.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday issued a fresh advisory to all states and Union Territories in the country to deal with the pandemic situation. In the advisory, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that states and Union Territories might consider imposing need-based, local curbs and restrictions, to control the crowds during the festive season.
Asking states and UTs not to let the guard down, he emphasised that there should be a continued focus on the five-fold strategy of "Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour" to avoid the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases, especially keeping in view the new Variant of Concern (VOC).