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Each Person Arriving from South Africa to be Quarantined, Tested for New Variant at Mumbai Airport

Genome Sequencing at Mumbai Airport: "There is no restriction on outbound flights in any way. But this decision has been taken keeping in view past experience," said Mayor Pednekar.

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Mumbai: After a potentially more contagious new coronavirus variant called Omicron was identified in South Africa earlier this week, genome sequencing of passengers arriving at Mumbai airport from the country will be done if any person is found positive for COVID-19, announced city’s mayor Kishori Pednekar today. The mayor further added that every person returning from South Africa will be quarantined on arrival in Mumbai and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing.

“There are concerns in Mumbai about the new variant of coronavirus. Genome sequencing of (positive) passengers coming from South Africa will be done. There is no restriction on outbound flights in any way. But this decision has been taken keeping in view past experience,” said Mayor Pednekar.

“There is an increased risk of COVID-19 in other nations, so those coming from abroad will have to undergo genome test. I request everyone to maintain social distancing and wear masks so that this new menace can be stopped,” she added.

The genome sequencing process helps identify variants of COVID-19. It is like an instruction manual that contains information about the make-up of an organism, and genome sequencing is a technique that reads and interprets genetic information. This also helps researchers find methods for rapid diagnosis and develop medicines to treat it. The move for genome sequencing was announced amid worries over the new variant, called Omicron. The decision was taken after several nations announced flight bans on South Africa arrivals.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also called a meeting of senior officials at 5:30 pm today to discuss measures on the new COVID variant.

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