Omicron scare: Karnataka issues guidelines for new Covid variant screening
Bengaluru, Nov 28: Karnataka government has issues fresh guidelines for intensifying screening of international passengers at airports, heightened border checks, in the wake of the increasing number of cases of B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant being reported in four countries so far.
"Cases of Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Hong Kong (1 case), which have significantly high number of mutations, have raised serious public health implications," the government circular said.
"It is therefore imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong, and also including all other 'at-risk' countries should be subjected to rigorous screening and testing as per guidelines," it said.
"Production of RT-PCR negative report (irrespective of vaccination status) not older than 72 hours at entry point is mandatory for those arriving from Kerala and Maharashtra. Students who have arrived from Kerala in last 15 days to undergo mandatory RT-PCR test," the government said.
"All social and cultural events, conferences, seminars, academic events, etc. in educational institutions may be postponed for 2 months," Karnataka govt in an advisory following recent COVID-19 clusters in Mysuru, Dharwad, & Bengaluru.
"It is therefore strictly instructed that district administrations should adhere to the overarching 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate' principle to ensure the stringent implementation of containment measures and to prevent the spread of Variants of Concern (VoC) / Variants of interest (Vol) in the interest of public health," the circular added.
Notably, two South African nationals who arrived in Bengaluru on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19, but they have been infected by Delta variant and not the new strain Omicron
The new Covid-19 variant, named Omnicron, has become a reason to worry for the world which has been returning to normalcy after being hit by a few waves of the pandemic. The newly-found strain is detected in Africa and the Union Health Ministry has put the countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, and South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel in the 'at-risk' category.
Many countries have already suspended flights from South Africa.