Omicron Scare: Govt Directs Rigorous Screening Of Foreign Travellers

Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday directed an intensified surveillance network with rigorous screening and follow-up of all the international travellers coming from all entry points to Kashmir division.

These directions were issued by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole while chairing a meeting to review the progress achieved in containment and mitigation of the possible threat from Omicron variant in the division at Divisional Covid-19 Control Room Kashmir (DCCRK), here, an official spokesperson said Wednesday.

At the outset, he said, Div Com stressed further intensifying the disease surveillance network with rigorous screening and follow-up of all the international travellers coming from all entry points to Kashmir division.

“He also designated a Nodal Officer for Surveillance of International travellers. The Nodal Officer was directed to monitor the preparedness as well as implementation of the previous directions by the Administration vis-à-vis Omicron threat,” he said.

According to the official spokesperson, Pole stressed upon officers to personally visit the facilities which were made available in view of the Omicron variant.

The Div Com, he said, also directed them to ensure that all the passengers with international travel history during past 14 days are subjected to RTPCR test and that they stay in the Administrative Quarantine till the reports of the test is available or they can also avail Rapid RTPCR test on paid mode which gives results within 3-4 hours.

“The Director, Airport Authority of India in Srinagar Airport was directed to inform all the flight attendants/crew members for making necessary In-flight announcements in this regard for the information of all travellers,” he said.

Also, he said that a “Covid-19 Help Desk” was placed at Srinagar International Airport to facilitate the international travellers for screening and testing for Covid-19.

In the meeting, the official spokesperson said it was also decided that at least 75 samples per week shall be sent for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and the directions were given to the HoD Microbiology, SKIMS Soura to send these samples on fast-track basis to the concerned Laboratory at NCDC Delhi.

“It was given out that the priority groups for sending of samples for WGS shall be samples of all Covid positive international travellers, samples of all Covid death cases, samples of a good number of Covid-19 patients who are admitted in tertiary care hospitals with Severe Covid and have taken both doses of vaccine and samples of Covid-19 patients found in clusters/super spreader,” he said.

Also, he said that it was decided that training regarding RTPCR testing will be imparted to all SRF/JRF/Research Associates of departments with Scientific Research (Biological sciences) from all the universities of Kashmir division so that their services may be utilized in case of any eventuality arising out of Omicron/ any other variant.

“Directions were passed to the Director Youth Services and Sports for sending their Physical Education teacher for capacity building training for sampling so that their services can also be utilized in case of any eventuality,” the official spokesperson said.

“Similar directions were passed to Director Health Services Kashmir for sending doctors and paramedical staff from peripheral Health Institutions for capacity building training in ICUs so that their services can also be utilized in case of any eventuality,” he added.

The Div Com, according to the official spokesperson also directed Director AYUSH to launch a fresh campaign for the distribution of Immunity Boosters for the general public in Kashmir so that people can further be benefitted by such immunity boosters.

“In the meeting it was further decided that all the Chief Medical Officers of Kashmir division will share the information regarding the availability of Covid Management Kits to the Divisional Administration in the shortest possible time,” he added.

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