Out of 104 COVID-positive foreign passengers in Tamil Nadu, 82 were detected with ‘S gene drop’ variant


CHENNAI: As many as 104 people who arrived in Tamil Nadu from various countries have tested COVID-19 positive till date, of whom 82 were detected with the ‘S gene drop’ variant of coronavirus, state Minister Ma Subramanian said on Wednesday.

The samples of the 82 passengers have been sent to the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru, for genomic sequencing analysis, the Minister for Medical and Family Welfare said.

“All the 82 passengers are fine”, he told reporters.

To a query, a health department official told PTI all the 104 passengers comprise of those arriving from ‘at risk’ and ‘non-risk’ countries to Tamil Nadu with effect from December 1.

On test samples already sent to inStem, Bengaluru last week, he said the department has received the results of 13 people who were tested, of which one was confirmed to have the ‘Omicron’ variant of the coronavirus, the ‘delta’ variant in eight and four ‘non-sequence’.

On December 15, Tamil Nadu declared its first Omicron variant of coronavirus, which was a 47 year-old passenger who arrived from Nigeria.

Meanwhile, to step up surveillance at international airports, the government has requested the Centre to allow the health department to conduct COVID-19 tests of all international passengers arriving to Tamil Nadu, as against the current practice of testing those arriving from ‘at risk’ countries, the minister said.

On the vaccination front, he said the 16th state-wide mega vaccination camp would be held on December 26 (Sunday), targeting 93 lakh people who are eligible to receive the second dose of vaccination.

Earlier in the day, Subramanian declared open ‘digital display boards’ at the Government Kilpauk Medical College premises, following the announcement made in the state assembly.

In the first phase, 25 government medical college hospitals would be equipped with such digital display boards, totally costing Rs 1.25 crore, which would inform patients about the services offered in the respective hospitals, he said.

The information displayed on the boards would be in Tamil and English, he said.

Meanwhile, the state added 604 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, pushing the caseload to 27,41,617, the health department said.

The fresh cases include five returnees from the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Andhra Pradesh.

As many as eight people succumbed to the contagion in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 36,699, a medical bulletin said.

Recoveries eclipsed new infections with 695 people getting discharged in the last 24 hours, aggregating to 26,97,939 leaving 6,979 active cases.

Active infections in the State have been hovering over 7,000 over the last few weeks.

A total of 1,01,713 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, pushing the cumulative number of specimens examined to 5,65,18,363.

Chennai and Coimbatore accounted for the majority of new infections with 136 and 94 cases, respectively, while the remaining was spread across other districts.

As many as 25 districts reported new Covid-19 infections below 10, while Ariyalur, Mayiladuthurai, Perambalur, Ranipet, Tenkasi and Theni, recorded zero new cases, the bulletin said.


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