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At least 139 people have returned to Mizoram from different foreign countries after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in South Africa in November, an official statement said.

During a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the state, chaired by health minister Dr. R. Lalthangliana on Wednesday, it was pointed out that the139 returnees were screened with RAT on their arrival at Lengpui Airport and 2 of them, who returned from Australia and Singapore, tested positive for COVID-19, the statement said.

The two infected returnees were admitted at Zoram Medical College (ZMC) and their samples were sent to Kolkata for genomic sequencing and their results are expected by next week, it said.
The remaining returnees were placed under quarantine as per protocols, it said.

The meeting mentioned that a trial run for genomic sequencing laboratory in Zoram Medical College (ZMC) has been already conducted and sample test results were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.

Genomic sequencing will be done at ZMC once official permission is obtained, it said.

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The Omicron variant of COVID-19 was first detected in Southern Africa on November 19.

Since then the variant has spread to over 100 countries, including India.

So far, more than 200 Omicron cases have been detected in 10 Indian states.

The Omicron variant is thrice more transmissible than the Delta variant of COVID-19.

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According to state nodal officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and official spokesperson on COVID-19 Dr. Pachuau Lalmalsawma, Mizoram registered an average of 197 COVID-19 cases in a single day between December 1 and 21.

He said the average single-day positivity rate between December 13 and 19 was 7.2%.

The COVID-19 situation in the state is still not under control as the average single-day positivity rate is higher than the WHO guideline of 5%, he said.

According to the state health department, the state now has 23 COVID Care Centres with 1,476 beds, 88 Community COVID Care Centres with 2,628 beds, 20 Dedicated COVID Health Centres with 332 beds and 2 intensive care units and a Dedicated COVID-19 hospital with 306 bedded wards and 48 bedded Intensive Care Units.

Mizoram on Wednesday reported 197 new COVID-19 cases, taking the state’s tally to 1,39,902, a health department official said.

The death toll rose to 535 as two more persons have succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours, he said.

The number of active cases now stands at 1,606, while 238 people have recovered from the infection on Wednesday, taking the total recoveries to 1,37,761, he said.

The recovery rate among COVID-19 patients is 98.46% and the death rate is 0.38%.

The northeastern state has so far conducted more than 14.89 sample tests for COVID-19 and 3,936 samples were tested on Tuesday.

According to state immunisation officer Dr. Lalzawmi, over 7.29 lakh people have been inoculated and of this 5.86 lakh people have received full dose till Tuesday.

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