The decision was announced after two people were found to have been infected with the Omicron variant in Karnataka.

Representative image of a hospital, as all Omicron variant cases in Karnataka to be treated at Bengaluru's Bowring HospitalImage for representation/PTI
news Coronavirus Friday, December 03, 2021 - 08:43

After two people in Karnataka tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Bengaluru’s Bowring Hospital has been identified for treating Omicron cases, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said on December 2. Out of two cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus that have been detected in Bengaluru, one is a South African national who has left India after testing negative, while the other is a local with no travel history, BBMP said on Thursday, December 2.

The city civic body said five contacts of the local person have also tested positive and their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing. According to officials, both the persons who have tested positive for Omicron were vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. "Please note that the second person has no travel history, so there may be chances of more people having the infection. There is need to be vigilant about this new variant," BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said.

Speaking to reporters, Gupta said the administration is in constant consultation with experts regarding measures to control the spread of this virus, and "I only say precautionary measures have to be borne in mind, they are the same for any variant … Naturally after these cases have come across there is a need to take more measures, which will be decided by the government after considering all aspects and consulting experts," he added.

Read: Bengaluru COVID-19 patient with Omicron variant had no travel history, 5 contacts positive

Sharing details of the Omicron variant cases, Gupta said, the first is a 66-year-old male, who is a South African national. "He had come here (Bengaluru) on November 20, his samples were collected at the airport and subsequently he tested positive. His samples were sent for genome sequencing, the reports of which have come today confirming he was infected by Omicron," he said on December 2. 

Further noting that the person was isolated in a hotel, and was subsequently tested separately at another laboratory, during which his reports came negative, the Commissioner said, he left the country for Dubai on November 27, as per his pre-decided schedule. All his 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts have tested negative, he said, adding, "but they are still kept under watch."

Regarding the second person, a 46-year-old male, Gupta said his samples were collected on November 22, following which he tested positive. “As his sample had low cycle threshold (Ct) value it was sent to NCBS lab, and the report has come today as positive,” he said on December 2. "He was initially kept under home isolation and was subsequently shifted to hospital. He is a local person without any travel history. He is stable and is recovering. There are no concerns, he is under watch."

The second person had an RT-PCR test done after he developed body ache and other symptoms. His 13 primary contacts and 205 secondary contacts have been tested, Gupta said. "Three primary and two secondary contacts have tested positive, they have been kept under isolations and samples have been sent for sequencing."

Not willing to divulge details about the second case, in response to a question, Gupta said, "We cannot say he is hospital staff, he is from Bengaluru."

The commissioner also said that samples of all international travellers who have tested positive, and positive cases with low Ct value are being sent for genome sequencing and are obtaining their results within about a week's time.

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