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Goa reports 1,002 new Covid cases, Health Minister concerned

 
Panaji, Jan 5 (IANS) Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday expressed concern about the rising infection positivity rate in the state, on a day when the daily infection count in Goa climbed to four figures, the first time in months, with the state logging 1,002 new infections.

Rane also said that in the absence of a genome sequencing machine, the health administration in the state was facing a delay in the detection of the Omicron variant, but added that the state's first genome sequencing equipment would be arriving in Goa by mid-January.

"13 per cent is also a bit high, but at the same time, we are ensuring that testing is increased... Our job is to flatten the curve. We have got more Omicron cases in the state. As a result, all these Delta cases which we get as Delta are getting converted to Omicron. The problem is that it is getting a little late because we do not have a genome sequencing machine," Rane told reporters here.

The Health Minister said that the Goa government was in talks with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO) for procurement of a genome sequencing machine for Goa free of cost.

"So in view of that, USAID and JHPIEGO have already told the government of Goa that they are going to give us a genome sequencing machine and it should come on the 15th of this month. If that comes, we will be immediately able to test fast," the Health Minister said.

In the absence of a genome sequencing machine in the state, Covid samples suspected to be of the Omicron variant are sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, causing a minimum of a week's delay.

The Minister said that the Goa government had prepared a stage-wise strategy to combat the rising Covid cases and bring the pandemic under control.

"If anybody feels, among the doctors who are dealing with the situation, that the government is not taking any steps, it is absolutely a myth, because the government has already planned exactly stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4 at what stage we will be, where are the facilities, everything is in black and white and put down (on paper)," Rane said.

Active cases in Goa stand at 3,718.

--IANS
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