Two from South Africa test Covid positive in Bengaluru amid Omicron concerns

Updated on Nov 27, 2021 11:55 PM IST

The World Health Organization on Friday designated a new variant of concern, classifying it as Omicron. Authorities across states have stepped up testing of international arrivals as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’.

A medic collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, in Bengaluru on Saturday. (PTI)
A medic collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, in Bengaluru on Saturday. (PTI)
By, Bengaluru

Two travellers from South Africa have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Bengaluru and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing to determine the variant, officials familiar with the matter said. While an official report is awaited, a government official said that the lab has said that the two were infected with the Delta variant of the virus.

Officials said the tested positive for Covid during the RT-PCR tests conducted at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). “The first passenger arrived in Bengaluru on November 11 and the second arrived on November 16. Both were kept in quarantine after the positive result,” Karnataka health secretary TK Anil Kumar said.

The World Health Organization on Friday designated a new variant of concern, classifying it as Omicron. Authorities across states have stepped up testing of international arrivals as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’.

“The two people who tested positive came from South Africa. The samples have been sent for sequencing,” deputy commissioner of Bengaluru Rural District, K Srinivas said, adding that the lab orally told them that the two tested positive for Delta variant.

State health secretary said that they have revised testing guidelines amid concerns over the Omicron variant.

“We have also changed the protocols from those coming from South Africa, other countries of interest. Earlier, they only required an RT-PCR test that is 72 hours old. But we have changed the norms to ensure that all passengers will take the test at the airport on arrival. In the case of a rapid RT-PCR test, results will be available in one hour, while for the normal RT-PCR test the time taken is around 4 hours. The passengers will have to remain at the airport, till the results are available,” said Kumar.

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