India's Chennai ramping up mass quarantine centres amid surge in COVID-19, says minister

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai Published: Dec 29, 2021, 01:54 PM(IST)

Medical workers stand outside a lab in Chennai Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

As per the government health bulletin issued on Tuesday, 43 cases of Omicron have been recorded in Tamil Nadu, of which 16 patients are undergoing treatment and the rest have been discharged from hospitals.

The Tamil Nadu government has acknowledged the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Chennai city and is ramping up health infrastructure to deal with the surge.

According to Health Minister M. Subramanian, 194 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Chennai on Tuesday, whereas the number is expected to go well past 250 on Wednesday. This comes at a time when the Omicron variant is showing increasing prevalence across Indian cities. 

As per the government health bulletin issued on Tuesday, 43 cases of Omicron have been recorded in Tamil Nadu, of which 16 patients are undergoing treatment and the rest have been discharged from hospitals.

Referring to the possible emergence of more Omicron cases, the Minister added that 129 samples where S-Gene drop (an indication of an Omicron case) was observed were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune. However, the final confirmation of Omicron in these samples has yet to be officially ascertained. 

Regarding the condition of those undergoing treatment for the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Minister said that most of them were fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and did not require ICU or oxygen beds. He also emphasised the importance of completing a double vaccination in order to prevent severe disease. 

According to the Greater Chennai Corporation, daily RT-PCR testing in the city was increased from 23,000 to 25,000, and measures were being taken to get more beds ready in large COVID Care Centers.

In addition to the 500 beds that are available in three centres on the outskirts of the city, an 800-bed facility with an oxygen supply is also being readied at the city’s largest exhibition venue, the Chennai Trade Center.

The city’s civic body also urged those who suspect COVID-19 to not take their own vehicles and travel to hospitals. Instead, they advised the public to call 1913, if they needed support.

According to the civic body, on calling 1913, they were offering vehicles to take COVID-19 suspects to government-run screening centers, from where they could be guided to further treatment.

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