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Karnataka to Investigate Negative Covid Report That Let S African Traveller With Omicron Fly Out

Swab samples are seen during a rapid antigen testing campaign. (Image: Reuters)

Swab samples are seen during a rapid antigen testing campaign. (Image: Reuters)

The 66-year-old traveller from South Africa left India seven days after testing positive by obtaining a negative Covid test report from a private lab.

The Karnataka government has directed civic officials in Bengaluru to file a police complaint and investigate the validity of a negative Covid test report provided to a South African traveller who is one of the first two people in India whose Covid samples showed the presence of the virus’s Omicron variant.

The 66-year-old traveller from South Africa left India seven days after testing positive by obtaining a negative Covid test report from a private lab, the Indian Express said in a report.

State Revenue Minister R Ashok said the state government had issued directions to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner to register a police complaint to investigate how the traveller from South Africa obtained a Covid-19 test report that allowed him to leave the country.

The traveller, who arrived in Bengaluru on November 20, tested positive at the airport and stayed at a five-star hotel in the city’s central business district. He allegedly obtained a negative Covid test report from a private lab on November 23, allowing him to return to South Africa via Dubai on November 27.

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The Karnataka government announced on Thursday that the new Omicron variant of the virus had been discovered through genome sequencing of samples taken from the South African national, who is the representative of a private medical firm.

The Minister had said that due to a mishandling of the situation, an investigation would be conducted to find out if the lab had reported the findings of the test in a correct manner or not.

Dr K Sudhakar had said on Thursday: “one person, a 66-year-old asymptomatic man who arrived from South Africa on November 20th, tested positive after his sample was obtained at the airport. He was staying in a high-end hotel. On November 23, he tested negative and returned to South Africa on November 27."

The individual’s 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts were all tested, and all of them came back negative.

Aside from the South African traveller, a 46-year-old doctor at a private hospital in Bengaluru – who had no history of international travel – was found to be infected by the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus, according to an announcement made on December 2 by the Union Health Ministry and the Karnataka government. Five of the doctor’s contacts tested positive for Covid, and their samples are being sequenced.

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first published:December 04, 2021, 12:35 IST