104 international travellers tested positive for COVID-19: Health Minister

3,000 samples were lifted in the past fortnight and 82 of them had S-gene dropout

In the days after the Union government decided to test all international passengers arriving from high-risk countries, 104 travellers have tested positive for COVID-19, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said on Wednesday.

A total of 3,000 samples were lifted in the past fortnight, and 82 of them had the S-gene dropout. “Their condition is stable,” he said. The Minister was speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of a digital display board at the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital here.

While 13 samples that returned from the Union government’s testing laboratories had shown the S-gene dropout, eight tested positive for the Delta variant. Four samples had been labelled ‘non-sequence’. So far, 22 persons had recovered and returned home, he said.

Only one person had so far tested positive for the Omicron variant, and he had come down from Nigeria, a low-risk country. The passenger would undergo another RT-PCR test in a day or two, he said. According to him, 79 patients were under treatment at King Institute of Preventive Medicine & Research, Guindy, and the rest were admitted to private hospitals.

Mr. Subramanian said the State was awaiting results from the Union government’s gene-sequencing laboratory in Bengaluru for the samples it had sent. A clearer picture of how many were infected with the Omicron variant would emerge in a day or two. The government was the first to have flagged the need for testing passengers arriving from low-risk countries. It was awaiting a response from the Union Health Ministry.

Digital display boards

Mr. Subramanian said all medical college hospitals would soon have digital display boards, providing details of the diseases treated and the facilities available. The boards would be commissioned at the 25 medical colleges in the coming week. They would be installed at the 11 new colleges once they were inaugurated.

On the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital campus, a six-floor building was coming up to accommodate additional surgical and special wards for treatment of burn injuries at a cost of ₹135.5 crore, he said. The Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation had proposed to buy equipment worth ₹184.8 crore. By the end of next year, new facilities worth around ₹279.50 crore would be ready for public use.

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