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Omicron Patient “Escaped”, Karnataka Tracking 10 “Missing” Passengers


Authorities tested 240 secondary contacts, people who came in contact with primary contacts of the patent

Highlights

  • One of the two persons found positive for Omicron in Karnataka “escaped”
  • 10 people are being tracked after they went missing from the airport
  • A South African found to be Omicron-infected “fled”, a minister said

One of the two men found positive for Omicron in Karnataka “escaped” after taking a Covid negative certificate from a private lab, the state government said today. The state is trying to track down 10 more people who reportedly went missing from the airport.

“By tonight all 10 people who have reportedly gone missing should be traced and they should be tested. Travelers will not be allowed to leave the airport until their report is out,” Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashok said after a top level meeting on Omicron.

A 66-year-old South African national found to be Omicron-infected “fled”, the minister said. Around 57 others who arrived around the same time will also be tested, even though they all produced negative RT-PCR tests on arrival. The 10 people labelled “missing” have switched off their phones and cannot be contacted.

“All will now be tested because one of them tested positive for Omicron even after showing a negative Covid test,” said the minister.

The man had arrived on November 20 from South Africa and left for Dubai seven days later.

“We’ve lodged a complaint with the police and they will see what went wrong at the Shangri-La hotel, from where the person escaped,” said

The man, fully vaccinated, checked into the hotel the day he arrived and was found to be positive for COVID-19. He had arrived with a negative Covid test report.

When a government doctor visited him at the hotel, he was found to be asymptomatic and was advised to self-isolate.

But since he was from one of the nations designated “at-risk”, his samples were collected again and sent for genome sequencing on November 22.

Twenty-four people who came in contact with him were tested and found to be negative. The authorities also tested 240 secondary contacts – people who had come in contact with the primary contacts of the patent – and found them to be negative as well.

On November 23, the man took another test at a private lab and the result came back negative.

On November 27, around midnight, he checked out of the hotel, took a cab to the airport and boarded a flight to Dubai.

Omicron was confirmed when he had already left.

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said priority has been given to tracing the passengers from Africa who vanished without tests at the airport. “In the past, our police department has done a good job of tracking down those who have escaped. And our police demonstrate their efficiency and will track them all. But I urge the passengers to act responsibly and with social concern,” Dr Sudhakar said.