Amid reports of 6 UK returnees to India testing positive for the new variant of Covid-19, the Odisha government on Tuesday said that at least 27 residents of Odisha, who have returned from the United Kingdom in the last month, are untraceable.
Of the 181 passengers who have returned to Odisha from the UK between November 30 and December 21, 154 could be traced, said director of Public Health, Dr Niranjan Mishra. “Though at least 92 of them had given only their phone numbers and vague address, we could reach around 65 of them today through persistent efforts. These UK returnees are spread across 18 districts in the State, of which a majority were in Bhubaneswar. There is nothing for these returnees to worry about. We will study their genome sequence and are following the SOP issued by the Centre,” he said
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary said zone-wise teams have been formed to trace the returnees based on their phone numbers and addresses. “Many people had used their international contact numbers for ticket booking which is a hurdle in tracing them. By tonight or tomorrow, we will get the entire list of the number of UK returnees and also those accessible or untraceable. We are verifying the list of returnees,” he said.
Chaudhary said, in the first phase, BMC had received a list of 20 travellers who had returned from the UK, of whom only three travellers had tested positive for Covid-19. Their swab samples have been sent to Pune for genome sequencing in order to find out if they had contracted the new Covid variant.
Meanwhile, Odisha government geared up for Covid-19 vaccination drive with 21 lakh syringes and 26 ice-lined refrigerators arriving in Odisha. Health and family welfare department director and vaccine in-charge Bijay Panigrahi said 339 ILRs will be brought to the state in the coming days. A database of 3.26 lakh health workers has been prepared for the vaccination in the state.