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Bengaluru: Two Indian citizens, who returned to Bengaluru from South Africa, were tested positive for COVID-19. This comes amid spike in fear over the new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, or Omicron, which has been detected in South African countries.
The two people were among the 584 passengers who came to Bengaluru from 10 high-risk nations. The samples of the two patients were sent for sequencing and the results showed it is Delta variant, K Srinivas, the Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Rural district, said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had on Saturday convened a high-level meeting and asked authorities to intensify screening of international passengers at the airports and make the RT-PCR test report compulsory for those arriving from Kerala and Maharashtra.
As per reports, three teams have already been deployed at the Karnataka International Airport who are strictly keeping a vigil and monitoring travellers before they step out of the airport. All the international passengers are being screened and those arriving from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong are being asked to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test.
Overseas travellers who have entered Karnataka between November 12-27 will be traced and will be asked to take RT-PCR test. People who will be testing positive will be quarantined in hospitals for 10 days.
Karnataka Minister R Ashoka said over 1,000 people have come from South Africa and all of them have been tested. "One more test will be done after 10 days for those who have already come to Bengaluru or somewhere," he added.
Meanwhile, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has on Saturday said that there is no need to panic about the new variant in India and has urged people yo not to delay in getting their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine as well as ensuring preventive measures.
Samiran Panda, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR said, "The structural changes detected in the virus may not necessarily give rise to a functional change of concern. It may not necessarily be lethal or result in severe form of disease. There is no such data, as of now. Of course, we have to wait and see."
In his monthly radio programme, 'Mann Ki Baat' Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not over yet and urged people to remain vigilant as well as adopt all possible precautions to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
“Never forget that corona has not gone yet. It is our responsibility to take all precautions,” PM Modi said before ending the radio address.
The Prime Minister also held a meeting with top Health Ministry officials, on Saturday, and took a brief on the new variant Omicron and its characteristics, impact in other countries, and its implications for India.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also urged PM Modi to stop flights from countries where the new variant has been reported.