COVID-19 | Two samples from Bengaluru detected with Omicron variant

COVID-19 | Two samples from Bengaluru detected with Omicron variant

A Bengaluru resident with no travel history, and a South African national, have been tested positive.

The Union Health Ministry has confirmed that two cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in India for the first time. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) that monitors the genomic variations of the pandemic causing virus too confirmed this.

Two persons — a 66-year-old South African national and another 46-year-old resident of Bommanahalli — in Bengaluru have been detected with the new variant.

‘Indian has no travel history’

According Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, the Indian has no travel history. His samples were collected on November 22, and tested positive for COVID-19. He was in home isolation and later shifted to a hospital.

Mr. Gupta said 13 of his primary and 205 secondary contacts have been tested, and three of the primary contacts and two of secondary ones have tested positive. They have been isolated, and their samples have been sent for sequencing. 

The local resident with no travel history testing positive for Omcron is a matter of concern, he said. The person is clinically stable and under watch, he added.

The South African national has left for Dubai on November 27 after testing negative, Mr. Gupta said. He came to India on November 20, and was quarantined in a hotel. As many as 24 of his primary, and 240 secondary contacts were tested, and found to be negative. They are still under watch.

‘South African arrived with a negative report’

According to BBMP officials, the South African travelled to India from South Africa on November 20 with a negative report from his country. He was screened and tested at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru. He checked into a hotel on November 20, and the test reports turned out to be positive.

The officials said a Urban Primary Health Centre doctor visited the hotel for physical triage and found the South African to be asymptomatic. He was advised to self isolate at the hotel.

On November 22, his test samples were collected and sent for genomic sequencing through BBMP. Later, the patient took a self-investigation at a private lab on November 23, and the report came as negative, the officials said. There were 24 primary contacts, and all are asymptomatic, tested and have tested negative. On November 22 and 23, the UPHC team collected samples from 240 secondary contacts, and all have tested negative.

The South African national checked out on November 27 midnight, took a cab to the airport . From there he has left for Dubai.

Soon after the announcement, State Health and BBMP officials have started deliberations on further containment and contact-tracing measures.

Health and Medical Education K. Sudhakar held a press conference in this regard later in the evening.

The Karnataka government is planning to set up dedicated facilities in hospitals with adequate infrastructure and required medicines to handle the possible outbreak of Omicron.

The State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that recommended a slew of measures in the wake of growing concern has said that a dedicated Omicron treatment facility should be established at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute. “Later, when necessary, a similar facility should be activated at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD),” stated the TAC report submitted to Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday.

“All symptomatic/suspected cases of COVID-19 from the airport should be admitted separately in these dedicated facilities,” the report stated. The TAC recommended that the State should reconstitute the clinical expert committee to advise the government regarding treatment protocols. Accordingly, Mr. Sudhakar announced that a new 10-member clinical expert panel led by Ravi K., head of the department of medicine in Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) would be set up.

(The article has been updated with fresh inputs)

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