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COVID: Genome panel to recheck Delta variant-affected South African travellers' report in Bengaluru

Meanwhile, passengers who came into Karnataka from vulnerable countries in the past 15 days (November 12 to 27) will also be subjected to repeat RT-PCR testing.

Published: 29th November 2021 10:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2021 03:23 PM   |  A+A-

A BBMP marshal creates awareness among shoppers on the need to follow  Covid-appropriate behaviour near KR Market. (Photo| Shriram BN, EPS)

A BBMP marshal creates awareness among shoppers on the need to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour near KR Market. (Photo| Shriram BN, EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Despite the two South African travellers who landed in Bengaluru being infected with the Delta variant, the genome sequencing committee has decided to rerun the report. Meanwhile, passengers who came into Karnataka from vulnerable countries in the past 15 days (November 12 to 27) will also be subjected to repeat RT-PCR testing.

"Bioinformatics are being checked again to ensure there is no presence of the Omicron variant. The final analysis is expected to come either late Monday evening or Tuesday," explained an expert who is part of the committee, formed by the state government.

Experts from the Technical Advisory Committee apparently warned the health department not to be complacent, and step up containment and active surveillance at the airport, and even track all international passengers who arrived from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

"All international travellers from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong who have arrived in the last 15 days (since November 12) should be tracked and subjected to repeat RT-PCR testing," said the addendum circular issued by principal secretary (health & family Welfare) T K Anil Kumar.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka health department will also collect detailed travel history of passengers arriving via international flights. If they test positive for COVID-19, the samples will immediately be sent to genome sequencing laboratories attached to INSACOG. The experts have said it is important to subject those testing positive from these countries for whole genome sequencing (WGS) on priority.

"The health department will be tracing all travellers from three countries post November 14. The testing mandate was much more relaxed then, and considering the speed with which the Omicron variant can spread, it is better to retest these travellers. If any of them are found positive, their samples have to be sent for genome sequencing," said an expert from TAC.

Meanwhile the Central health ministry has also informed states about upping genome sequencing and continuous monitoring of hotspots, which are areas where clusters of positive cases have emerged.

"INSACOG has been established to monitor the circulating variants in the country. It is important at this juncture that states must significantly increase sampling from the general population/community for genome sequencing by sending these samples to INSACOG lab network...," Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told the states.



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