25 international passengers who arrived in Maharashtra since Nov 1 tested positive for COVID

After the new variant caused global concerns, international passengers are being screened at airports across the country.

As many as 25 international passengers who arrived in Maharashtra since November 1 and three of their close contacts have tested positive for coronavirus, the state health department said on Thursday. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing to check if any of them has Omicron variant infection, it added.

After the new variant caused global concerns, international passengers are being screened at airports across the country. As many as 861 international passengers were screened from the night of November 30 to the morning of December 2 and three of them tested positive for coronavirus infection.

“A total of 28 samples from both airport and field surveillance have been sent for genomic sequencing,” the department said in its release.

Twelve samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, and 16 to Kasturba Hospital laboratory in Mumbai. Seeking to assuage the panic over the new variant, the health department said genetic changes/mutation in viruses is a natural phenomenon.

People should inform the Public Health Department authorities if they have had international travel history in the last one month, it said. It also appealed people to get fully vaccinated at the earliest.

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