Telangana: Tracing Omicron patients’ contacts huge task

Contacts may run into hundreds as flyer from Somalia visited two hospitals; patient from Kenya stayed at home 

Published: 16th December 2021 07:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2021 07:49 AM   |  A+A-

Paramount Colony in Tolichowki wears a deserted look on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2021

Paramount Colony in Tolichowki wears a deserted look on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2021. (Photo | Express, Vinay Madapu)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The health officials of Telangana are struggling to grasp the magnitude of the task at hand in tracing the primary and secondary contacts after tests confirmed that two out of the three passengers tested positive for Omicron at RGI Airport in Hyderabad. The health officials believe that the number may well run into hundreds, with no possibility of tracing all of them.

Well placed sources said that both these patients had flown to India to tend to their family members who are chronically ill and under treatment in two corporate hospitals in the city.  It is learned that the Omicron positive patient from Somalia landed in Hyderabad on December 12, rested through December 13, and then took his father to two corporate hospitals — Yashoda and Apollo — for consultation and also visited a local restaurant. 

This patient alone could have secondary contacts running into hundreds as the doctors say the consulted could have turned themselves into spreaders if infected. While one patient’s relative is under treatment for breast cancer, the other’s relative suffers from another chronic ailment. 

The patient from Kenya stayed at home and the number of people she came in contact with may be low, the sources said. It appears that since both the patients were not aware of their Covid-19 positive status until they were traced and informed by the officials, they mingled with their ailing family members.

The entire episode has thrown light at the loose ends of the airport surveillance for non-risk countries as they are allowed to go for home isolation despite testing positive at the airport.

“It is baffling that the guidelines are such that they are allowed to leave airport before getting the RT-PCR reports. Once they leave, it is very difficult to trace them as they have no proper address and contacts. If found, many times they do not even speak English, making it impossible to track the contacts they came in touch with,” said a health officer on condition of anonymity.

The very fact that the two patients who tested positive came from non-risk nations is raising concerns among health experts, with Director of Public Health Dr. G Srinivasa Rao stating that they will request the Centre to revise the guidelines for institutionally isolating positive patients from non-risk countries as well and also ask for compulsory testing.

Telangana sees 186 Covid cases, 1 death

Telangana detected 186 Covid-19 cases after conducting 40,776 tests on Wednesday. The State also witnessed three passengers testing positive for the virus at the RGI Airport. The samples of all three passengers have been sent for genome sequencing. The State also reported 206 recoveries on the day. The number of active cases in the State now stand at 3,812. One patient, meanwhile, succumbed to the virus and the Covid toll in the State is now at 4,010.


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