Containment zone returns in Chennai, as Omicron cases rise to 45

Health Minister Ma Subramanian said the emphasis should be more on COVID appropriate behaviour and people should come forward to get jabbed

Chennai: With the National Institute of Virology confirming 11 more cases of Omicron in Tamil Nadu, thus taking the total number to 45, State Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Wednesday said there was no need to panic as all the cases detected so far are asymptomatic.

Moreover, they all had availed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

Asserting that the present situation is not alarming, the Minister said the emphasis should be more on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and people should come forward to get vaccinated to shield themselves from Coronavirus and its variants.

“Tamil Nadu has detected 129 persons with S-gene drop and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology. On Tuesday the institute confirmed 11 cases (in addition to 34 cases) and including 5 old cases, totally 16 persons are undergoing treatment now,” he said after inspecting the metro's first COVID-19 containment zone in Ashok Nagar here along with principal secretary, health and family welfare department Dr J Radhakrishnan, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi and other officials.

About 29 persons out of 34 who tested for Omicron have been treated and discharged.

Pointing out that England and world over several countries were shifting the treatment protocols asking the asymptomatic persons to undergo treatment at home, the Minister said the state too apart from following the guidelines would closely monitor the cases.

“Even comedian Vadivelu and director Siraj and all those who tested for Omicron are asymptomatic. Inoculation against COVID-19 would help to protect the people,” Subramanian said and added that plans are on to ensure cent percent vaccine coverage of the beneficiaries.

Already 86 percent of the population have received the first dose of COVID vaccine while the second dose has been administered to 58 percent. For its part the GCC has initiated steps to make sure the entire eligible population is covered, including vaccinating those above 60 years, he said.

Chief Minister M K Stalin will launch the vaccination drive for the 15 to 17 years age group at a camp in Porur on January 3 and it will be simultaneously initiated in all the schools across the State, Subramanian informed.

As to the containment zone in Ashok Nagar, Radhakrishnan said it was the first in the city after the lockdown curbs were lifted. “A cluster of 10 people infected with coronavirus was detected two to three days ago and the area has been cordoned off,” he said.

With the rising Omicron cases in mind, the government has established COVID-19 Care Centres at three places in the city with a total bed strength of 500. Preparations are on to revive the CCC at the Chennai Trade Centre and also to ramp up the RT-PCR testing to 25,000 tests per day, from the present 23,000 tests, in Chennai, the Minister said.

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