Omicron risk: Samples be sent to labs tagged in INSACOG network only, says Centre

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Dec 3 : Amid the threat of new Covid variant Omicron, the Health Ministry on Friday reiterated that the samples of those test positive must be sent to the laboratories tagged to the state and UTs in the INSACOG network.

“Samples of all those who test positive must be sent for Whole Genome Sequencing expeditiously, and only to the laboratories tagged to the State/UT in the INSACOG network”, Union Health Ministry said in a letter to the states and UTs.

The ministry has also underlined to put in place a system to ensure that sample quality is good and transportation to INSACOG labs is quick to avoid any delay in testing. It said further that ideally no samples should be sent to any lab which is not part of the INSACOG network.

“Enhanced Testing is the only strategy for detection of the virus- hence as per the earlier guidelines of ICMR and Ministry of Health, focused and strategic testing must be taken up in and around the cluster of infection”, said the letter. All the contacts of the infected persons should be traced, quarantined and tested within 72 hours.

In view of international passengers arriving from both “at-risk” and other countries, the ministry has urged the states to access Air Suvidha portal every day to know in advance the details of passengers coming to the respective states and UTs from different international airports to different states and Union Territories to follow up through the surveillance mechanism.

Some clusters of infections have also been reported from some places in the
country. The ministry has said that active surveillance and testing is the only key in detection of such clusters or hotspots.

The letter has underlined that fully vaccinated individuals are protected from severity of the disease, so ensure the remaining first and second dose gaps through proactive measures.

“In view of the higher transmissibility of ‘Omicron’, all efforts should be made
to regulate crowds, enforce masking and social distancing at all times”, said the ministry in the letter.


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