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Devesh Kumar

Maharashtra to thermal screen international air travellers, no cases of new variant: Minister

China is currently hit by the new BF.7 sub-variant of the Omicron variant which is stated to be the fastest-spreading strain of the Covid-19 (Bloomberg)

The health minister has asked the officials of the state health department to be vigilant and give emphasis on tracking, testing, and vaccination. "No patient infected with the new variant (of Omicron) has been found in the state yet," he said.

China is currently hit by highly transmissible Omicron strains, mainly BA.5.2 and BF.7, which are spreading like wildfire.

In India, three cases of the BF.7 sub-variant have been reported so far out of which two cases are from Gujarat and one is from Odisha.

The health minister added that the thermal screening will be done at airports for those arriving from countries where cases of the highly transmissible variant of the virus are reported. He added that the symptomatic patients will be isolated and their swab samples will be collected.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya chaired a high-level Covid-review meeting on Wednesday where the experts emphasized the need for continued surveillance to keep track of the existing and emerging variants of the virus.

"The BF.7's high transmissibility in China might be attributed to a low level of immunity in the Chinese population from the previous infection and possibly vaccination too," an official source told the news agency PTI.

On Thursday, Union Health Minister will hold a meeting of state health ministers regarding the issue. Sawant also informed that Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will also hold a separate meeting with the officials of the health department.

Citing the rising cases of Covid-19, the Karnataka government also announced on Wednesday its decision to screen international passengers at the Bengaluru Airport.

(With inputs from agencies)

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