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Home » Karnataka » Omicron Patient Left India Before Variant Confirmed, Karnataka Orders Probe; Search On For 10 ‘Missing’ S African Travellers


Omicron Patient Left India Before Variant Confirmed, Karnataka Orders Probe; Search On For 10 ‘Missing’ S African Travellers

Amid reports of at least 10 South African travellers missing, the state government directed officials to look into it, trace them and get them tested.

Representational Image (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Amid reports of discrepancy in RT-PCR reports of one of the patients infected with Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Karnataka government on Friday ordered a probe into the test reports of the 66-year-old South African national, that allowed him to leave the country. Further, there were also reports of at least 10 South African travellers gone missing. Taking cognisance of the matter, the state government directed officials to look into it, trace the 10 people immediately and get them tested.

On Thursday, two cases of Omicron cases were confirmed in Karnataka — one 66-year old is a South African national who had left the country after testing negative, while the other is a local person — a doctor aged 46, with no travel history. Five contacts of the doctor have also tested positive and their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing.

ALSO READ: Omicron In Karnataka: Only Fully Vaccinated Can Enter Theatres, Malls; Testing Ramped Up

The probe into the test results of the South African national was ordered as after questions were raised on how he managed to get a negative report within three days after testing positive for COVID on arrival. The 66-year-old man were also reported to have attended some official meeting while he was supposed to be in quarantine. He later left the country even as his genomic sequencing reports were awaited.

A poster stating containment zone at the residence of the doctor who was detected with Omicron variant of Covid-19, in Bengaluru, Friday. (PTI)

Acknowledging the lapses on part of authorities, state Revenue Minister R Ashoka said, “The person (66-year-old) had isolated at a hotel and he has gone from there (outside the country). First his (Covid test) report came positive and then re-test came negative. Whether there was any mishandling, whether the lab tests were accurate or was there any wrong doing, the police commissioner has been directed to investigate this.”

“Two reports- one positive and one negative- is doubtful. So the lab must be investigated. So we have asked the police commissioner to investigate immediately in coordination with the health department,” he added.

Following a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Ashoka said the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner has been directed to file a case at the city’s High Ground Police Station in this regard.

Officials on Thursday said that the South African national had come to Bengaluru on November 20 and his samples were collected at the airport and subsequently he tested positive. His samples were then sent for genome sequencing, the reports of which came on Thursday, confirming he was infected by Omicron.

Further noting that the person was isolated in a hotel, and subsequently underwent a test separately (self-investigation) at another laboratory (private lab on Nov 23), during which his reports came out negative, they had said he then left for Dubai on November 27 and all his 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts had tested negative.

Responding to a question on reports that 10 South African travellers have gone untraceable, Ashoka said, “It has come out in the media that ten people are untraceable. Officials have been directed to look into it, trace them by tonight and get them tested.”

Stating that he has no official information about it, Health Minister K Sudhakar said that in case they have not been traced, the police are efficient enough to find them, as in the past.

“But my appeal is that no one should switch off their mobiles and go untraceable. It is not the right way. They should behave responsibly.”

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ALSO READ: Omicron Variant May Be Driving South Africa’s Covid Surge; Wary World Watches

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