Amid Omicron worry, 125 Italy-Amritsar flight passengers test COVID-positive
As many as 125 passengers from a chartered flight from Italy's Milan tested positive for COVID-19 after landing in Punjab's Amritsar on Thursday afternoon. The flight, YU-661, was operated by Portuguese company EuroAtlantic Airways and had 179 passengers on board. The passengers who tested positive for the virus will be sent to institutional quarantine, state health officials said.
Why does it matter?
- The development comes amid intense COVID-19 testing at all airports across India, especially those who operate international flights.
- This was due to the rapid surge in COVID-19 infections in the country following the detection of the Omicron variant.
- Meanwhile, the central government has flagged insufficient COVID-19 testing in nine states, including Punjab.
Chaotic visuals coming from airport: Report
One-sixty passengers were tested after reaching the Amritsar airport. The 19 other passengers were children or infants, and were hence exempted from testing, officials said. Chaotic visuals from the airport showed a large number of passengers waiting to leave as the police tried to manage crowds. Incidentally, passengers are reportedly questioning why they tested positive after testing negative in Italy.
How is the COVID-19 situation in Punjab?
Punjab on Wednesday reported 1,811 new COVID-19 cases. The total cases reported in the state have now risen to 6,08,723. The state's active caseload stood at 4,434, while the total death toll was recorded at 16,657.
Centre flags insufficient testing in states
Meanwhile, the central government on Thursday wrote to nine states and union territories to ramp up COVID-19 testing to limit viral spread. The states/UTs include Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, and Bihar. The government also flagged a considerable decline in COVID-19 testing in these states/UTs amid rising cases and case positivity rates.
India records biggest 1-day jump in Omicron cases
India on Thursday added 495 new COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant. Notably, this is the biggest single-day spike in Omicron cases in the country. Worryingly, India also reported over 90,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The active caseload rose to 2.85 lakh, accounting for 0.81% of the total cases. Currently, India's recovery rate stands at 97.81%.