Tamil Nadu has reported its first case of Omicron BA.4 variant after a teenager was tested COVID-19 positive recently and the health department on Saturday appealed members of the public 'not to panic' following the identification of the new variant.
Tamil Nadu Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said the 19-year-old woman detected with the new variant was visited by top health officials on Friday. She has recovered and was doing fine, he said.
"Those who came in contact with her were not affected. Heath Secretary J Radhakrishnan and senior department officials visited her Friday night and she was fine. She was fully vaccinated. That is why, to protect oneself from any kind of coronavirus variant, we appeal members of the public to make use of the vaccination camp scheduled to be held on June 12," Subramanian told reporters.
A release by the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said a total of 3,328 samples were subjected to 'Whole Genome Sequencing' between January and May 2022 and 96 per cent of the variant was detected to be of Omicron.
While BA.2 variant was widely reported, BA.1 variant of Omicron was also reported in some samples collected, the release said.
It also pointed out that the majority of COVID-19 cases reported at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Sri Sathya Medical College near here were a cluster of COVID-19 cases comprising BA.2 variant.
The teenager's family was living in a gated residential community at Navalur on the famous Old Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai. The mother and daughter developed mild flu-like illness on May 4 and turned out to be COVID-19 positive after undergoing an RT-PCR test.
The mother was detected with the BA.2 sub-lineage of the coronavirus variant while the daughter had BA.4 variant when the results of the samples collected from them were released on May 19, the release said.
"They were self-isolated in their house and became alright within three days of their illness. Full vaccination has helped them to recover quickly and resume routine work after seven days of their illness," it said.
The patients did not undertake any travelling and no new COVID-19 cases were reported in the residential community, it said.
"While the identification of the BA.4 Omicron sub-variant is not a cause of any immediate panic, it is more a reminder to continue the focus on eligible persons getting completely vaccinated and the need to continue to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour in crowded areas," the release said.
Subramanian after inspecting a block which was earlier planned to be converted into a geriatric ward at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research said the ward would be put in for service, after the officials of the public works department inspect the quality of the building.
He also warned that the government would take action against those officials, if there was any discrepancies found in the construction.