Four flyers from ‘at-risk’ nations test Covid positive in Delhi, eight cases so far


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Four more travellers arriving from ‘at-risk’ countries tested positive for COVID-19 at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), officials said on Thursday. All four passengers were admitted to Lok Nayak Hospital (LNH) and their samples sent to the National Centre for Disease Control for genome sequencing to ascertain if they have the new variant, Omicron, which has been classified as ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Till now, a total of eight people from ‘at-risk’ countries have tested positive for COVID-19 since stricter norms for international passengers came into effect on Tuesday midnight. The eight Covid-positive travellers and two passengers who showed ‘Covid-like symptoms’ have been admitted to LNH, where a dedicated ward has been set up for isolating and treating such patients.

On the Air France flight that landed at the airport around 12am, three passengers tested positive out of 243, an official said. One more person travelling with 195 others on a flight from London was found to be infected with COVID-19.

According to the Centre, countries designated as ‘at-risk’ include the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. Under the new norms, RT-PCR tests are mandatory for passengers arriving from the ‘at-risk’ countries and they will be allowed to leave the airport only after the results come in.

Also, the Delhi government is likely to propose to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to make the first dose of anti-Covid vaccine mandatory by December 15 for entry to public places and incentivise people with cash prizes, discounts and lottery to get them inoculated.

It may also be proposed that by March 31, getting fully vaccinated be made a must for entry to public places like malls and metro stations. Examples were cited of European countries that adopted a vaccine transport system, and limited access to public places for the unvaccinated. Officials said that countries like the US, Philippines, Moscow and Mexico have incentivised vaccination.

Covid positive tally till now
Till now, a total of eight people from ‘at-risk’ countries have tested positive for COVID-19 since stricter norms for international passengers came into effect on Tuesday midnight. 

Delta Returns

95% of the samples from Delhi sequenced at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the last 6 months were found infected with Delta variant, according to government data.

Delhi has sent 7,281 samples for genome sequencing to NCDC since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

Genome sequencing data revealed the presence of Delta variant in 2,709 of the 6,541 samples with lineages.

Government data showed 96 per cent of the samples sequenced in November had the Delta variant. 

The highly contagious variant was detected in 99% of the samples in October and 98% in September.

97% of the samples in August, 91% in July and 89% in August had the same variant.

The genome sequencing laboratory at the Lok Nayak Hospital also found the Delta variant in 101 of the 105 samples with lineages. 

Doctors at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences found the variant in 531 of 789 samples with lineages after the facility started sequencing COVID-19 samples in July.

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