BMC to Screen Biju Patnaik Airport Passengers for COVID-19

The Odisha government has resumed the screening and testing of passengers at the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) after a Maharashtra returnee was found infected. The samples collected so far have been sent for genome sequencing at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS).

A camp has been set up by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) at the airport for screening all passengers arriving from outside the state.

Prem Chandra Chaudhary, the BMC Commissioner, has announced that those with symptoms will have to undergo an RT-PCR test mandatorily. “Those undergoing RT-PCR test will be asked to stay in strict isolation till their reports come. As institutional quarantine facilities have been shut down, the passengers will stay in home-isolation”, he added. The passengers without symptoms will also be directed to undergo voluntary testing.

Two teams have been assigned to work in two shifts, i.e. from 7 am to 2 pm and 2 pm to 9 pm, for screening and collecting samples at the airport. The screening will especially take place for people arriving from states that have witnessed the virus’ resurgence including Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile, a 34-year-old man of Soro in Balasore district tested positive for Covid-19 a day after returning from Maharashtra. As two distinct variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in Maharashtra, Odisha’s health administrators have begun contact tracing of the youth by locating his co-passengers and fellow commuters.

Dr Niranjan Mishra, the Director of Public Health, said the reports and other epidemiological and clinical pieces of information collected from the airport would be out in a couple of days.

“No mutants have been found in the State so far. The ILS is now sequencing 104 samples collected during January. The sequencing report is awaited,” Odisha’s Department of Health recently clarified.

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