Tamil Nadu has intensified precautionary measures at all four international airports in the state in the wake of the detection of the new COVID-19 virus variant ‘Omicron’ in South Africa and has appointed four health department officials to personally monitor the situation, State Minister Ma Subramanian said here on Saturday.
These officials would be stationed in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli aiports, the Minister for Medical and Family Welfare said here.
”The new virus variant Omicron has been detected in five countries — South Africa, Botswana, Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong (China). Several countries are taking preventive measures to protect themselves from this new age virus.We too have stepped up preventive measures in a full-fledged manner at international airports (of the State)”, he told reporters.
As part of this, fouy health department officials were appointed today and they would be present in these airports to monitor the screening measures, he said.
Subramanian, along with health department principal secretary J Radhakrishnan and senior officials, inspected the screening procedures at the airport here on Saturday.
”As far as Chennai airport is concerned, passengers arriving from South Africa, Brazil, China, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Israel undergo intense monitoring, including thermal screening. As many as 99 countries have recognized the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines. Verification of their vaccination reports are also done here”, he said.
Overseas passengers on arrival undergo RT-PCR tests at the airport, he said, adding that from October 21 till date 55,090 people were tested, of whom three were COVID-19 positive.
Reiterating that ”vaccinating oneself” and ”wearing a facial mask” are the weapons against COVID-19, he said 78 lakh people were yet to receive the second dose of vaccination in Tamil Nadu.
”People should understand the necessity to get vaccinated. Reports from neighbouring Karnataka have said that 281 students tested positive in one particular area. Also in Tiruvallur district, five school students tested positive. These incidents show that the virus is present”, he said.
Subramanian said the department would conduct the 12th Mega Vaccination Camp on Sunday through 50,000 camps. ”We have 1.12 crore vaccines as stock and even today, the Centre informed us that it would send 12 lakh additional doses. People should make use of the opportunity and get vaccinated. They should always wear a mask to protect themselves”, he said.
To a query about Tamil film icon Kamal Haasan testing COVID-19 positive after returning from the U.S.A., he said the actor has received both doses of the vaccine and was in good health. ”Very soon he (Kamal Haasan) will be discharged”, the Minister said.