Karnataka sees 32 Omicron cases, ranks fifth in country

No link to travel, variant has spread through population, fear experts
A health worker conducts COVID-19 testing of commuters as 'Omicron' cases cases rise in India, at KSR railway station in Bengaluru. (Photo | PTI)
A health worker conducts COVID-19 testing of commuters as 'Omicron' cases cases rise in India, at KSR railway station in Bengaluru. (Photo | PTI)

BENGALURU: Of Karnataka’s 32 Omicron cases, 11 have no travel history. This is in keeping with the Health Ministry’s data on Friday morning, which says Omicron patients in India were fully vaccinated and 27% have no travel history, reinforcing experts’ fears that the variant is evadi2ng vaccines and has spread in the population. 

Karnataka, which reported 13 fresh cases on Thursday, stands fifth in the country in the number of Omicron cases after Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. “The current spread of Omicron in India shows that several states are reporting cases, and this only reflects how good the state of reporting is in these states, and is not the true Omicron scenario.

If we are seeing local transmission without any linkage to travel, it means it is much more widespread. If you look at the timeline, this is going on since October, so we cannot say that it has not travelled to most parts already,” said Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist and member of the Technical Advisory Committee. He was speaking at a webinar on ‘Next Covid Surge in India’, organised by the Indian Institute of Public Health.

Data released by the Karnataka health department shows that a majority of patients have travel history from European countries, with 10 patients have travel history from the UK and two other European countries.

Of cases with no travel history, seven are from clusters in Mangaluru and Shivamogga. Interestingly, in most of these cases, especially those with no travel history, a majority of primary and secondary contacts have tested negative. Three cases of primary contacts of a person with international travel history were reported. In Udupi, an 11-year-old girl with no travel history, living in an apartment complex with more than 2,000 members, tested positive for the Delta variant while her grandparents tested positive for Omicron.

A senior doctor and member of the genome sequencing committee said ICMR is working to culture the virus. “The efficacy of vaccines is being tested against the Omicron,” he said. Apart from stricter quarantine rules for international travellers and genome sequencing of clusters, the state so far has not changed treatment protocol. 

European country travel history: 10
No travel history: 11
Inter-state travel history: 2
African countries: 6
Primary contacts of travellers: 3

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The New Indian Express