Seven-year-old becomes West Bengal’s first Omicron case

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West Bengal reported its first case of Omicron on Wednesday as a seven-year-old boy tested positive for the coronavirus variant in the state’s Malda, officials said.

The seven-year-old had arrived at Hyderabad from Abu Dhabi, one of the non-high-risk countries on December 11, and then arrived at Kolkata on the same day before going to Malda. He was found positive at Hyderabad and his sample was sent for genome sequencing.

“Today (Wednesday) morning, it was found positive for the Omicron variant… authorities from Hyderabad informed us,” an official said.

The child at Kaliachak Malda was admitted at Malda Medical college along with his father and sister. He is said to be stable now.

Incidentally, he and his sister both tested negative on December 12 in a test conducted at a private lab at Malda.

Asked about it, a senior Health Department official said: “We cannot confirm whether he is negative from a single test. At least two tests are required and we have collected his specimen today.”

“The contact tracing was done on Wednesday and samples were collected from the child, his sister, his father, mother, and grandmother. If found positive, these will be sent for genome sequencing.”

Other household contacts were advised to maintain strict home isolation, the Health Department official said.

“Our state team is working on the contact tracing for the child for the last three days and taking all measures to identify the passengers in the flight and also throughout his travel route. All necessary steps are being taken for contentment and to stop spreading of this infection,” the official added.

Asked whether the state government quarantines passengers who are Covid positive from flights of non-risk countries on being tested positive at the airport, the official said: “That is the Government of India protocol and we strictly follow that. Two cases where found so far and both were hospitalised and samples are sent for genome sequencing. The second person is still admitted at IDBG Hospital.”

“We got a list of 37 co-passengers from Air India and contact has been established with 27 passengers but none of them showed any symptoms. All the passengers have been requested to go for isolation and there will be a re-test on the eighth day. Some ten passengers did not respond or could not be contacted. We will try again to track them. Out of the 27 who were contacted, 16 belonged to West Bengal, one passenger is from Bengaluru, four are from Hyderabad, three from Manipur, one from Meghalaya and one from Mizoram. The list is being shared with IDSP, New Delhi for sharing the details with the concerned states,” the official added.

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