Health dept clarifies on 5 Omicron cases after half-baked information, says only one case at present

Shillong, Jan 5: After giving piecemeal information on Tuesday, the health department on Wednesday said after three Omicron   patients recovered and one migrated to Assam, Meghalaya has only one Omicron virus as on Wednesday.

Curiously a day after the announcement of five Omicron cases,


Director of Health Services (MI) Dr Aman War told reporters that there is only one person infected with the Omicron variant. “The patient in Laitumkhrah, who is doing well is under strict isolation with no symptoms and the patient is doing very well.”

According to Dr War, the state had only 4 cases of Omicron and not 5 as informed earlier as one case was transferred to Assam.

Sources said that due to lack of coordination, factual information was not given to the press.

“As of now, we have got four cases in the state infected with Omicron of which three have recovered which include two from Saiden village in Ri Bhoi district and one from ARC Happy Valley, Shillong,” he said.

The official said the two cases from Ri Bhoi were Covid positive and were isolated at home.

“In the course of isolation their time period has been completed. Now they are well and have recovered and can go about with their duties normally without forgetting to follow the precautions and the SOPs strictly,” he added.

There was criticism from these patients on Tuesday night after they were declared by health department as having Omicron cases while they were already cured.

According to sources, though communication gap was the reason for this, nobody took responsibility for lack of proper information gathering.

The health official said the person affected in ARC, Happy Valley had also recovered.

She had come from outside the country from Qatar and tested positive on December 29 and genome sequencing was done.

“In the report received on January 4, she was found positive for Omicron virus. This patient has also recovered. She was initially isolated at home and on her request she was shifted to one of the corona care centres and she will be discharged by tomorrow or day after tomorrow,” he said.

As far as the Omicron case of a tourist from Assam is concerned, the official said the patient was a 13-year-old boy who had reported at Umling corona testing centre on December 21, but has never stayed in Shillong.

“The samples were taken on December 21 and while he was proceeding towards Shillong awaiting the report, halfway due to urgent work at home this particular person along with his parents had returned on the same day without reaching Shillong,” he said.

The place where they had booked for their stay in Shillong was one of the guest houses at Langkyrding. This particular person along with his parents never stayed at Langkyrding since they returned on the same day even before reaching Shillong.”

Sources, however, questioned why the health department has to mention the case linking it with Langkyrding or any other part of Shillong since neither he nor his parents ever stayed in the city.

Dr War urged the citizens of the state not to panic and added that the restrictions being imposed is taking into consideration the spread of the virus very fast.

“However, if we follow protocols strictly like wearing masks, social distancing and sanitising frequently I think we have nothing to fear about but the most important aspect of this virus which may affect us is the panic,” he said.

The DHS also warned that if people do not maintain strict protocols, it would only call for further restrictions if necessary.

“We do not wish for further strict restrictions but if the situation demands, we will not have any other alternatives but to suggest such restrictions,” he said and appealed to the citizens to help the government to check the spread of the disease.

The health department had already started sending all Covid-19 positive cases for genome sequencing from December 1, to find out whether it is an Omicron or Delta variant.

The report for the genome sequencing normally takes 4-6 days.

He also informed that the Omicron virus is not that virulent compared to the Delta variant which had affected many people during the second wave of the pandemic.

To a question whether this is because many people are fully vaccinated, Dr War said, “If people are vaccinated and get infected, the chances of the mutation is lower and even if it mutates on the person who already has the antibodies then that mutation when it comes out, the virulent becomes low. With herd immunity if we get in some places, then people who have been vaccinated, it depends on the virus also when it mutates it will mutate for a very virulent type or for a type which it can survive”.

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