Two South Africans who tested COVID-19 positive were infected with Delta variant, says official
He further said the duo tested positive on 11 and 20 November, debunking the fear of any possible spread of the new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron'
Bengaluru: The two South African nationals who tested positive for COVID-19 were found to be infected with the delta variant, an official said. Both the South African nationals were infected with the delta variant, the Bengaluru Rural district official said requesting anonymity.
He further said the duo tested positive on 11 and 20 November debunking the fear of any possible spread of the new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', which has become a new cause of worry globally.
According to him, from 1 to 26 November, 94 people arrived from South Africa, of them two tested positive for COVID-19. The official also said the two infected persons have been quarantined, are being monitored by the authorities and their samples have been sent for further tests to ascertain the variant.
The new potentially more contagious B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on 24 November, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel and the UK. Amid fear of Omicron variant of COVID-19, Karnataka has decided to intensify screening of international passengers at airports and make RT-PCR test report compulsory for those arriving from Kerala and Maharashtra, an official statement said.
"The Chief Minister has instructed the officials to go on an aggressive campaign to trace those who have not taken the second dose of the vaccine and cover them at the earliest," the statement read. It was also decided to impose a temporary ban on cultural programmes in schools and colleges, make second dose of vaccination compulsory for those working in government offices, malls, hotels, cinema halls, zoos, swimming pools and libraries.
The slew of decisions taken by the government include strict vigil in the areas bordering Kerala and Maharashtra, the RT-PCR negative report compulsory for those entering the state from Kerala and Maharashtra, compulsory RT-PCR test again for students from Kerala who arrived in the last 16 days and students in hostels who have got negative RT-PCR test report would have to get the test done again on the seventh day after the first report.
The government also instructed to conduct more intense testing for students in medical and nursing colleges and intensify screening of international travellers at airports. It also decided not to let in people who test positive for COVID-19 and they will be sent to hospitals for treatment. The state has also decided to give booster dose of the vaccine to prevent the third wave of COVID-19.
"We have urged the Union Government to allow the state to administer the booster dose, especially for frontline workers. We may get the go ahead from the Centre in a week," revenue minister R Ashoka was quoted as saying in the statement.
The 73-year-old man, who was found infected with Omicron in genome sequencing and who had tested negative for the infection twice, died in a Udaipur hospital on 31 December, said the Union health ministry
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the record numbers of people catching the new variant meant hospitals were being overwhelmed.
But WHO senior emergencies officer Catherine Smallwood sounded an ominous note of caution, telling AFP that the soaring infection rates could have the opposite effect.