Authorities test over 100 people who attended conference with infected man
In an attempt to track the source of new Covid variant Omicron in a 46-year-old Bengaluru doctor, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials are conducting contact tracing of medical professionals who attended an international conference here on November 20.
Officials have been unable to trace the source of the new variant in the patient, who doesn’t have any international travel history. HT had reported that the doctor had attended an international conference in Bengaluru a day before he tested positive for Covid-19.
The 28th annual conference of the Indian College of Cardiology was conducted in a hotel in Bengaluru and it was attended by around 60 medical professionals, including the infected person. The organisers of the events said all participants were from Bengaluru and all international participants attended the conference over the video conferencing.
So far three persons, including the doctor, who attended the event, have tested positive for Covid-19. “We are currently tracing all participants and their contacts to identify if anyone has contacted the virus. More than 100 people including the hotel staff have been tested. The contract tracing will continue. As we have said earlier, to identify the source of the variant the patient number two, we will trace his contacts for as long as required,” said KV Trilok Chandra, special commissioner (health) of BBMP.
The official said with the contract tracing, the government will be able to identify all those who had come in contact with the patients and isolate them at the earliest.
A doctor, who attended the conference, pointed out that the doctor (patient number two) tested positive for the new variant just a day after attending the event. “The incubation period for the virus is 5-10 days, so it is possible that he got the virus before the event itself. As for the event, we had taken all precautions including wearing of the masks,” said the doctor, who didn’t want to be named.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had said patient number two had developed fever and body ache on November 21 and tested positive the next day. Since he had a low CT value (which indicates a high viral load), his sample was sent for genomic sequencing. This patient had 13 primary contacts and 205 secondary contacts. Out of which three primary contacts and two secondary contacts, have tested positive for Covid. They are currently at a government hospital and not showing any severe symptoms.
The patient number two, who has mild symptoms, is currently under isolation at a hospital in Bengaluru as a precaution. His oxygen saturation levels are satisfactory and he didn’t report any breathing problems. The doctor is in good health and doesn’t have any symptoms at present, said BBMP officials.
The Karnataka government on Friday ordered a probe into how a South African national obtained a negative RT-PCR report from a Bengaluru lab, enabling him to leave the country despite his swab results testing positive for Omicron variant. A senior police officer on Saturday said: “We have been asked if there have been any malpractice in issuing the negative certificate to the patient. We will submit a report to the government at the earliest.”
The South African national was kept in isolation at a five-star hotel following his positive report at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. After his samples were detected with a new strain, it was sent for a genomic sequencing test.
Authorities have maintained that the infected person had taken a test in another lab and tested negative. He was allowed to go to Dubai through Bengaluru airport. From Dubai, he had reached South Africa.
However, revenue minister R Ashok said there was some suspicion of malpractice, so a probe has been ordered.