Nearly a week after a 32-year-old man from Dombvli with travel history from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in India on November 24, the Kalyan Dombvli Municipal Corporation is yet to track down the taxi driver who drove him home from Mumbai airport.
Kalyan Dombvli Municipal Corporation Chief Medical Officer Pratibha Panpatil said she tried to contact the driver but he was not answering calls.
The driver’s details have since been shared with the state health department. Since the person doesn’t reside in the civic body’s jurisdiction, the health department may ask the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to trace the driver, she told The Indian Express.
The patient tested negative in an RT-PCR test conducted 72 hours before he boarded his connecting flights from Cape Town. Panpatil said he underwent an RT-CPR test in Cape Town before travelling to Delhi, but the report was negative. He tested positive after another RT-PCR test at Delhi airport. Panpatil said there was a possibility that his first report was false negative.
Despite testing him at Delhi airport, the authorities let him board the flight to Mumbai without waiting for the report. When he landed in Mumbai, he received his digital report that confirmed that he was carrying the Covid-19 pathogen. But while getting out of the airport, he showed the earlier negative report to screening officers. He then took a private cab and travelled 50KM to his Dombvli home, exposing the taxi driver and passersby.
The civic body has already tested eight of his close contacts, including his parents. All the samples returned negative reports. Panpatil told The Indian Express that the patient’s sample had been sent for genome sequencing to Kasturba hospital and are hopeful of getting a report within a week.
While health officials are still to ascertain if the patient is infected with the Omicron variant, doctors have urged the authorities at Mumbai airport to be extra cautious and demanded stringent restrictions on travellers.
Omicron scare in Chandigarh
That was, however, not the only case of an Indian national returning from South Africa testing positive for Covid-19.
A 39-year-old Chandigarh resident returned from South Africa on November 21 has been moved to a government-run isolation facility after his sample returned a positive result. His RT-PCR test at the airport returned a negative report. However, he tested positive at the end of his quarantine period on Monday.
One member of his family and the domestic help also tested positive, while the result of another family member is still awaited. Two other family members returned a negative report.
The man is currently being kept in isolation, as per protocol. Health Services Director Dr Suman Singh said all the positive samples had been sent for genome sequencing to NCDC, Delhi, to determine the infection-causing variant.