Bengaluru: Two from South Africa test Covid positive, Deputy Commissioner says it is Delta strain

Between November 1 and 26, 584 persons arrived in Bengaluru from the 10 high-risk countries and 94 travellers have come in from South Africa alone.

Published: 27th November 2021 11:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2021 11:58 PM   |  A+A-

Covid test

Image for representation (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Amid concerns over two travellers from South Africa, who arrived at the Kempegowda International Airport, testing positive for Covid, the Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Rural claimed late on Saturday evening, November 27, 2021, that they are infected with the Delta variant, and not the new Omicron variant.

After reports of the two travellers testing positive emerged, the entire state and Bengaluru were on tenterhooks throughout Saturday as the genomic sequencing of the virus was awaited. There was a collective sigh of relief when the DC said that the test results had arrived earlier and they were found to be Delta variant.

However, Dr V Ravi, head of the Genome Sequencing Committee, said he is not aware of genome sequencing of samples of the two travellers and it was not done at NIMHANS. "I do not have any information on this yet," he added.

Samples testing positive for Covid are sent to designated IGSLs (INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories) for genome sequencing as per the advisory of the state. The designated IGSLs in the state are NIMHANS, the National Centre For Biological Sciences and the Indian Institute of Science.

Bengaluru Rural DC K Srinivas said, "The two travellers are Indian nationals who returned from South Africa. One of them arrived on November 11 and the other on November 20. As their tests returned Covid-positive, the samples were sent for genome sequencing. It has been found that they were infected with the Delta variant."

Health officials are on round-the-clock vigil at the Kempegowda International Airport, strictly monitoring travellers arriving from abroad, especially from South Africa and 10 such high-risk countries.

While one of the travellers has been isolated at a star hotel in Vasanth Nagar, the other is said to be quarantined in Bommanahalli. BBMP officials are monitoring their health continuously, said Srinivas.

Between November 1 and 26, 584 persons arrived in Bengaluru from the 10 high-risk countries and 94 travellers have come in from South Africa alone.

Dr Vishal Rao, a member of the Genome Sequencing Committee, said, "It is important to be vigilant against Omicron, which is the latest variant of concern. With the speed at which it has overtaken the Delta variant in countries like South Africa and the UK, there is no doubt that if detected, it will spread fast in our state too. One cannot be lackadaisical about it. All congregations should stop and genome sequencing should be upped to detect the variant faster."

Atish Bagchi, an Ohio-based mathematician, said, "The virus is undergoing endless changes constantly within a single host, and, therefore, in every host. Roughly speaking, if a mutation proves lethal enough to kill the host, then the virus perishes along with the host. If the mutation allows the host to remain alive, and the virus acquires improved ability to infect cells and avoid detection by the host's immune system (whether assisted by vaccination or not), then the virus gains an evolutionary advantage and continues to proliferate. One must, therefore, continue to inform oneself, remain super-vigilant, and exercise extreme caution."


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