International arrivals originating from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong shall compulsorily undergo RT-PCR testing for COVID-19, the Karnataka government informed on Saturday in view of cases of 'Omicron' variant of COVID in other countries.
"In view of cases of COVID-19 variant, Omicron (B.1.1529), reported from Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong, circular has been issued regarding the rigorous screening and testing of International arrivals. Considering the high number of mutations of the above-mentioned variant and serious public health implications thereby, the following additional instructions are issued for strict compliance," read the order copy by the government of Karnataka.
The order copy further read that the international arrivals originating from South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong shall compulsorily undergo RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 and only after testing negative, be permitted to leave the airport/ port of entry.
"All those international travellers from these three countries who have arrived in the last 15 days (from 12th-27th November 2021) should be tracked and subjected to repeat RT-PCR testing. Those travellers who are tested positive, shall be compulsorily placed under institutional isolation in hospital for 10 days," the order read.
Karnataka government made it mandatory to subject the positive samples for Whole Genomic Sequencing (WGS) on a fast-track basis. District administrations and Airport authorities have been instructed to implement the above measures with immediate effect larger interest of Public Health.
Two persons, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday after reaching Bengaluru from South Africa, have been found positive for delta variant of the virus.
Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Rural District, K Srinivas told ANI over the telephone that 584 people arrived in Bengaluru on Saturday from 10 "high-risk countries".
"Ninety-four of them came from countries in Africa. Among those, two who returned from South Africa and are Indian nationals have tested positive for COVID-19. The samples were sent for sequencing. We came to know they are positive with the 'delta variant'," he said.
The World Health Organisation had on Friday called the new strain of COVID-19 a "variant of concern".
The first cases of new strain were reported from South Africa. The WHO has named the new strain as Omicron.