India asks states to step up COVID testing over Omicron

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India’s health ministry says the states should ramp up COVID-19 testing as the world battles the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

The ministry on Tuesday said, “The Omicron variant doesn’t escape RT-PCR and RAT testing, appeasing some concerns among domestic health workers that changes in the spike protein of the virus could lead to conventional tests failing to detect the mutation.”

It comes as the ministry warned the state governments last week that a recent fall in testing could undermine India’s efforts to contain the pandemic.

India has not reported any Omicron cases yet, authorities are studying the sample of a man who tested positive for COVID-19 after recently returning from South Africa to see if he is infected with the Omicron or another variant.

Mumbai’s municipal corporation said it was delaying reopening schools for younger children to December 15 instead of Wednesday as a precautionary measure given the global situation involving Omicron.

The city of Pune, which is also located in the western state of Maharashtra, has also postponed the reopening of schools.

READ ALSO: India to tighten COVID-19 testing for tourists amid new variant

Kamila/Al-Jazeera

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