Amid fears of the spread of new Covid strain ‘Omicron’ looming large, two South African nationals have tested positive for the coronavirus, and their samples have been sent for further tests to ascertain about the variant, a top official said on Saturday.
Both of them have been quarantined and there was no need for worry, he said. “From (November) 1 to 26, a total of 94 people have come from South Africa, out of them two have tested positive for regular Covid-19. So people need not worry,” Bengaluru Rural Deputy Commissioner K Srinivas, under whose jurisdiction Kempegowda International Airport comes, said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, both the infected persons have been quarantined, are being monitored by the authorities and their samples have been sent for further tests to ascertain the variant.
Noting that ten countries have been identified as high risk, the DC said all those coming from there are made to compulsorily undergo tests, and those tested positive are being quarantined.
As many as 584 people have arrived in Bengaluru from ten high-risk nations from November one to 26, he said.
Observing that cases of the new variants have been detected in the last one week in countries like Botswana, South Africa, Hong Kong and Israel, state Health Minister K Sudhakar earlier today said guidelines have been given to airports stating those travelling from these countries to the city have to undergo a test despite having negative Covid test report, and they will be allowed outside the airport only after testing negative.
“Even after testing negative they will have to remain at home and after seven days they will have to undergo a test once again, and after getting a negative report, one can go out,” he added.
The new potentially more contagious B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 24, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel and the UK.
It was on Friday designated as a “Variant of Concern” by the WHO, which named it “Omicron”. A “variant of concern” is the WHO’s top category of worrying COVID-19 variants.