Oncologist attends to international flyer, tests positive for Covid

The oncologist became the primary contact of Omicron-affected international traveller when the latter consulted him for cancer treatment on December 16.

Published: 20th December 2021 07:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th December 2021 07:38 AM   |  A+A-

Covid test samples

Representational Image (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The worst fears of Telangana health officials seems to have come true. A Hyderabad-based senior oncologist tested positive for Covid-19 after attending to an international flyer at a corporate hospital in the city.  

The oncologist became the primary contact of Omicron-affected international traveller when the latter consulted him for cancer treatment on December 16. The patient, who came from a country that was not categorised as “at-risk” nation on December 14, was not aware of his Omicron-positive condition when he met the doctor. 

The oncologist has now been isolated and his samples were collected by the Department of Public Health for genome sequencing on Sunday, the results of which are expected in the next 36 hours. It is also learnt other hospital staff, who were in contact with the doctor and patient, have also been isolated. The news comes at a time when the State has seen a sudden rise in Omicron cases, which went from eight cases on Friday to 20 on Sunday. 

These 12 new cases are mostly reported among individuals not from “at-risk” countries and hence very few of them are tested, raising concerns of the variant spreading among the locals. The doctor testing positive has also cast a shadow on what could be the implication as several of his patients could also catch the highly-infectious variant. 

It is learnt that nearly every Omicron patient from non-risk countries is having more than 100 primary and secondary contacts with many of them staying in guesthouses or hotels and visiting local places. “There is a huge lag of time before airport health teams inform local health teams about positive cases. Ideally the moment a patient tests positive in random testing, they must inform the patient and local teams to isolate them. However, the State health department is informed only when genome sequencing shows positive for Omicron but by then 56 hours would have been lost,” said a senior health staff on condition of anonymity.
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