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Mumbai Airport: Quarantine, genome sequencing mandatory for South Africa arrivals amid Omicron COVID concerns

“People are worried about the new Covid variant. Those people coming from South Africa will be quarantined and genome sequencing will be done with thorough checks,” she said.

Mumbai Airport: Quarantine, genome sequencing mandatory for South Africa arrivals amid Omicron COVID concerns-dnm
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Mumbai, First Published Nov 27, 2021, 2:50 PM IST
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Passengers arriving from South Africa to the Mumbai Airport will be quarantined and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing, the city’s mayor Kishori Pednekar said on Saturday amid concerns of new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Genome is like an instruction manual that contains information about the make-up of an organism, and genome sequencing is a technique that reads and interprets genetic information.

“People are worried about the new Covid variant. Those people coming from South Africa will be quarantined and genome sequencing will be done with thorough checks,” she said. Pednekar added, “Christmas is round the corner and many people from around the world will come to Maharashtra and Mumbai to their families. The BMC is taking all precautionary measures. This variant has become a matter of concern in many countries and hence, we need to be prepared.”

“There are concerns in Mumbai about the new variant of coronavirus. Genome sequencing of (positive) passengers coming from South Africa will be done. There is no restriction on outbound flights in any way. But this decision has been taken keeping in view past experience,” Pednekar said on Saturday.

Also read: Tamil Nadu braces up for more showers as IMD predicts heavy rain till Nov 29, Chennai reports waterlogging

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has called a meeting of senior officials at 5:30 pm on November 27 on the new COVID-19 variant, reported the news agency.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 26 designated the new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529, first detected in South Africa this week, as a Variant of Concern, which is named Omicron. A variant of concern is the WHO's top category of worrying Covid-19 variants. It was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel. A number of countries around the world have now decided to ban or restrict travel to and from these six southern Africa nations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too is holding a meeting with top officials to review the Covid-19 situation and status of the vaccination drive in India. The meeting is being attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, PK Mishra, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul among others.

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