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Karnataka to probe Covid report that allowed traveller with Omicron variant to fly out

The 66-year-old left India within seven days of testing positive by obtaining a negative Covid test report from a private lab.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: December 4, 2021 11:23:30 am
Karnataka, Omicron cases in india, Omicron cases in karnataka, Covid-19, Covid test, Bengaluru news, Bengaluru, Indian express, Indian express news, Karnataka newsThe traveller, who arrived in Bengaluru on November 20, tested positive at the airport and stayed at a five-star hotel in central Bengaluru. (Representational)

The Karnataka government has directed civic officials in Bengaluru to register a police complaint and investigate the validity of a negative Covid test report provided to a South African traveller who is among the first two persons in India whose Covid samples have indicated the presence of the Omicron variant of the virus.

The 66-year-old traveller from South Africa left India within seven days of testing positive by obtaining a negative Covid test report from a private lab.

“We have issued directions to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner to register a police complaint to investigate how the traveller from South Africa obtained a Covid-19 test report that allowed him to leave the country,” state Revenue Minister R Ashok said Friday after a meeting held by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with senior ministers and health officials.

The traveller, who arrived in Bengaluru on November 20, tested positive at the airport and stayed at a five-star hotel in central Bengaluru. On November 23, he purportedly obtained a negative Covid test report from a private lab which allowed him to return to South Africa, via Dubai, on November 27.

On Thursday, the Karnataka government reported that genome sequencing of samples taken from the South African national, who is the representative of a private medical firm, had detected the new Omicron variant of the virus.

“There has been a mishandling of the situation. We want an investigation to find out if the lab had reported the findings of the test in a correct manner or not,” the minister said.

“One person, a 66-year-old, who came from South Africa on November 20, who was asymptomatic, tested positive after his sample was obtained at the airport. He was in a private hotel. He tested negative on November 23. He returned to South Africa on November 27,” Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had stated Thursday.

As many as 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts of the individual were tested and all of them turned out to be negative.

Besides the traveller from South Africa, a 46-year-old doctor at a private hospital in Bengaluru – with no history of international travel – was found to be infected by the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus as per the announcement by the Union Health Ministry and the Karnataka government on December 2. Five contacts of the doctor have tested positive for Covid and their samples are undergoing genome sequencing.

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