New Covid variant Omicron doesn’t escape the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR) test and Rapid Antigen Test, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General, Dr Balram Bhargava, said on Tuesday.
In a virtual meeting with states and UTs on public health response measures and preparedness amid reports of Omicron variant in many countries, he said that the new variant can be detected by the two tests and hence, the states and UTs should ramp up testing for prompt and early identification of any cases. States were advised for target testing of passengers from countries not “at-risk”, as part of the ramped-up testing by the states.
NITI Aayog’s Member, Health, Dr Vinod Paul underlined that the country is richer in its knowledge of management of Covid-19, and stressed the continued importance of Covid appropriate behaviour, avoiding large gatherings, and ramping-up vaccination.
Reiterating that the revised guidelines and international travel advisories of the Union Health Ministry in view of the new variant of Covid-19 have been shared with the states, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised states to not to let their guard down, and keep a strict vigil on the international passengers coming to the country through various airports, ports and land border crossings.
Noting the critical role of vaccination as a powerful defence against Covid-19, the “Har Ghar Dastak” vaccination campaign was extended till December 31 with focus on 100 per cent first dose coverage, and completing backlog of second dose vaccination in the meeting. States have been advised to ramp up the pace and coverage of vaccination.