No new Omicron infection, three recovered says DHS (MI)

Shillong, Jan 5: As on Wednesday, Meghalaya has only one active case infected with the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 after three patients have recovered and one transferred to Assam.

Informing this, Director of Health Services (MI) Dr Aman War said, “There is only one active case left which is infected with the Omicron variant. The particular case is in Laitumkhrah and is under strict isolation with no symptoms and the patient is doing very well.”

He informed that in fact the state had only 4 cases of Omicron and not 5 as informed earlier as one case had been transferred to Assam.

“As of now we have got four cases in the state infected with Omicron of which three have recovered (which include two from Saiden village in Ri Bhoi district and one from ARC Happy Valley, Shillong),” he said.

Dr War further added, “The two cases from Ri Bhoi district were COVID-19 positive and were isolated at home and in the course of that isolation their time period has been completed. Now they are well and have recovered and can go about their duties normally without forgetting to follow the precautions and the SOPs strictly.”

“The case (from) ARC, Happy Valley had also recovered. She had come from outside the country from Qatar and had tested positive on December 29 and genome sequencing was done and a report received on January 4 and she was found positive for the Omicron virus. This patient has also recovered. She was initially isolated at home and on her request she was shifted to one of the corona care centres and she will be discharged by tomorrow or day after tomorrow,” he informed.

Regarding the case of a tourist from Assam who had reportedly got infected with the Omicron virus, the DHS said that the patient was a 13-year-old boy who had reported at Umling on December 21, but has never stayed in Shillong.

“The samples were taken on December 21 and while he was proceeding towards Shillong awaiting the report halfway due to urgent work at home this particular person along with his parents had returned back on the same day without reaching Shillong,” he said while adding that “the place where they had booked for their stay in Shillong was at one of the guest houses at Langkyrding. This particular person along with his parent never stayed at Langkyrding since they returned back on the same day even before reaching Shillong.”

Urging the citizens of the state not to panic, Dr War said the restrictions being imposed is taking into consideration the transmissibility of the virus very fast.

“(However), if we follow protocols strictly like wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing frequently I think we have nothing to fear about but the most important aspect of this virus which may affect us is the panic,” he asserted.

The DHS also warned that if people do not maintain strict protocols, it would only call for further restrictions if necessary.

“We do not wish that there are further strict restrictions but if the situation demands, we will not have any other alternatives but to suggest such restrictions,” he said while appealing to the citizens to help the government arrest the spread of the disease.

Dr War further warned that there will be many variants coming in the near future but the “precautionary measures are the same…it all depends on us how we deal with the situation and it depends on us whether we can arrest this particular spread or not.”

When asked, the senior medical officer said that the department had already started sending all COVID-19 positive cases for genome sequencing from December 1, to find out whether it is an Omicron or Delta variant.

According to him, the report for the genome sequencing normally takes 4-6 days.

He also informed that the Omicron virus is not that virulent compared to the Delta variant which had affected many people during the second wave of the pandemic.

When asked if this is because many people are fully vaccinated, Dr War said, “If people are vaccinated and get infected, the chances of the mutation is lower and even if it mutates on the person who has already has the antibodies then that mutation when it comes out, the virulent becomes low. With herd immunity if we get in some places, then people who have been vaccinated, it depends on the virus also when it mutates it will mutate for a very virulent type or for a type which it can survive.”

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