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Karnataka: Last batch of foreign returnees out of quarantine, focus shifts to monitoring contacts

Karnataka health authorities are now focusing on monitoring nearly 90 coronavirus positive foreign returnees in the state and their primary contacts -- several of whom have contracted the infection as they approach the end of their quarantine period.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: April 7, 2020 1:26:43 pm
Karnataka, COVID-19 Karnataka, B Sriramulu Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu distributes free food to the needy in Bellary. (Express photo)

The last batch of 536 persons of the nearly 35,000 foreign travellers who arrived in Karnataka between March 1 and March 23 from various countries completed their mandated 14-day coronavirus quarantine period on Monday, leaving health authorities with the onus of monitoring fewer people in the coming days.

However, the travellers who have not tested positive for COVID-19 will now be monitored at their homes by local health workers over 14 more days. Follow LIVE Updates

Health authorities are now focusing on monitoring nearly 90 coronavirus positive foreign returnees in the state and their primary contacts — several of whom have contracted the infection as they approach the end of their quarantine period.

Additionally, local clusters like 21 members linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, 21 of a Mysuru pharma firm and over a dozen cases where the source of infection is not known are being monitored by officials.

In Karnataka, 163 persons have tested positive for coronavirus, with 12 cases being reported on Monday. Among the new cases, nine are linked to two local clusters with no foreign travel history and one linked to the Tablighi Jamaat meet.

“The focus will now be on surveillance and contact tracing as well as proactive follow-up of influenza like cases,” Karnataka’s health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said.

According to official data, 21,509 travellers arrived in airports in the state between March 10 and March 23 – when flights were stopped, and 13,193 localites landed at other airports in the country between March 1 and March 23.

“All the persons who arrived from foreign countries till March 23 have completed their 14-day quarantine period and have moved into an additional 14 day reporting period. Our immediate concern now is the primary contacts of the travellers because a few of them have started testing positive towards the end of their own quarantine periods,” an epidemiologist with the Karnataka health department said.

As many as eight persons who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Karnataka since April 1 are primary contacts of international travellers. This is in addition to eight travellers themselves who tested positive since April 1.

“We have issued orders for all primary contacts to be tested when they reach the 12th day of quarantine,” the epidemiologist said.

“We are finding that children, spouses and domestic workers of persons who returned from abroad are testing positive towards the end of their quarantine period,” a health official said.

There are 1525 primary contacts and 6261 secondary contacts of the 163 persons who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Karnataka as of April 6.

Health authorities are also closely monitoring two such cases of asymptomatic persons testing positive for the coronavirus. “These asymptomatic cases are few and is not a source of concern at present,” said Dr HDR Radhakrishna, the medical superintendent of the CV Raman General Hospital, one of the designated isolation hospitals in Bengaluru.

“Once the primary contacts of the travellers also complete their quarantine period in about a week, we would be in a position to say that the first wave of the Covid-19 infection in Karnataka has passed,” Dr Radhakrishna said.

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