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Omicron Scare in Bengaluru Prompts Fresh Curbs in Mumbai; BMC Issues Rules For Airport

The BMC said passengers arriving from 12 high-risk countries will undergo strict surveillance at the Mumbai international airport. (Image: Reuters/File)

The BMC said passengers arriving from 12 high-risk countries will undergo strict surveillance at the Mumbai international airport. (Image: Reuters/File)

There are no direct flights to Mumbai from African countries, but as a precautionary measure, the airport administration will trace the last fortnight's journey of all international arrivals.

Amid rising fears of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus globally, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) held a meeting in which they decided that they will issue fresh guidelines for airport authorities.

Travellers from African countries where cases of the new coronavirus variant Omicron have been found should be screened, Mumbai municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal directed officials. Passports of international passengers should be checked at the Mumbai airport and medical tests should be conducted if a person has been to any of the African countries where the new variant has been found, he instructed.

If found positive for infection, such a person should be institutionally quarantined, Chahal said, according to an official release. Samples of such passengers should be sent for genome sequencing, he added. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had called a meeting of various authorities including police, airport, superintendents of major civic hospitals, executive health officers and members of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force in the evening to discuss precautions to be taken in view of concerns over Omicron.

There are no direct flights to Mumbai from African countries, but as a precautionary measure, Chahal directed the airport administration to collect information of the last fortnight’s journey of all international arrivals. Jumbo Covid Centers of the BMC should be re-inspected to ensure that they are functioning properly and vaccination should be accelerated, he said.

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There was panic over the Omicron variant being detected in India with news of two Indian nationals, returning from South Africa to Bengaluru, testing Covid positive. The omicron variant is said to have emerged in South Africa. However, it was found that the passengers tested positive for the delta variant of the novel coronavirus on November 11 and 20, respectively.

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Authorities said 584 persons had come to Bengaluru from 10 high-risk nations. Of them, two who returned from South Africa (Indian nationals) tested Covid positive. “We sent it for sequencing and came to know that it’s the delta variant," said Bengaluru rural DC, adding that samples had been sent for further investigation.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 21:17 IST