Amid rising concerns over ''Omicron'', the new variant of COVID-19, surveillance mechanism has been intensified at the international airport in Hyderabad, a senior health official said today.
Though no cases of Omicron variant have been reported in Telangana so far, the official said, "It would not be surprising if the new variant gets reported in Hyderabad or Telangana."
The Telangana government has geared up for a possible third wave of cases and has intensified the vaccination exercise, he said. "We have intensified our surveillance mechanism at the international airport here. Since December 1, as many as 979 international travellers from 'at-risk' countries arrived at Hyderabad international airport and on Saturday 70 international travellers came," Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr G Srinivasa Rao told reporters here.
RT-PCR tests were conducted and 13 of them were found positive for COVID-19 and the samples sent for genome sequencing in view of the Omicron variant threat, he said.
The genome sequencing reports of the 13 passengers are expected to come today evening or tomorrow after which it will be known whether they have the Omicron or Delta variant, he said, adding that the 13 who tested positive have been shifted to the designated health facilities.
He further said the Telangana government has geared up to meet any eventuality and has also intensified vaccination.
So far, 92 per cent of the population has been administered the first dose and 48 per cent have been given the second dose, he said. An action plan has been chalked out to improve the coverage with two doses by December 31, he said.
The official said people need not panic and reiterated that it is high time to be more careful and adhere to all Covid- appropriate behaviour by wearing masks, frequent hand sanitisation, physical distancing, not participating in large gatherings and getting vaccinated.
Reacting to a query on a possible surge in COVID-19 infections, the official said: "This variant has characteristics of spreading fast. We have to wait and watch how this new variant is going to behave in the coming days. We are expecting a little surge in mid-January or February in our state or country."
The state government has made necessary preparations to tackle a possible third wave of Covid cases, he said.
The government has created increased infrastructure in hospitals and as part of it, 27,000 oxygen beds were created in the public health system and there are a total of 66,000 beds in the state, Dr Rao said, pointing out that more than 6,000 beds exclusively for children have been established in government hospitals.
Similarly, medical oxygen generation capacity in the state has been increased to 327MT from 135 MT and efforts are on to further increase it to 500 MT, Dr Rao said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)