South African Omicron patient, Bengaluru 5-star hotel booked for flouting norms

The South African national was the first detected Omicron case in India, and left India seven days after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Doctors in PPE kit
Doctors in PPE kit
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A case has been filed by the Bengaluru police against the South African national who was detected to be India’s first Omicron case and later left for Dubai from Bengaluru. The FIR filed by the police names the South African citizen and management of hotel Shangri La, where he had been staying while in Bengaluru.

The 66-year-old South African national had landed in Bengaluru on November 20, and had tested positive after he was screened at Bengaluru airport. He had checked into a hotel, Shangri La in Bengaluru, and the FIR says that BBMP officials instructed the hotel staff as well as the 66-year-old that he has to be in quarantine for 14 days. However, the FIR says that despite telling hotel staff about his quarantine, he was allowed to go out on November 27. When inquired about this, the hotel staff informed officials that he had produced a COVID-19 negative report, checked out on November 27, took a cab to the Bengaluru airport and left for Dubai.

Earlier, the BBMP had said that the South African took a ‘self-investigation test’ on November 23, and that the report came back negative. The negative report was taken from SR Laboratory, the FIR says.

The FIR comes after a complaint was filed by a medical officer of the BBMP against the South African and the hotel management, stating that legal action should be taken against them for flouting norms and exposing people to the virus. An investigation has also been launched into the report made by the lab that said he was negative for COVID-19.

After the South African was found to have been infected with Omicron, 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts were traced by the health department, and all of them tested negative. Six days after he left the country, on December 2, it was confirmed that he had the Omicron variant.

The South African national has been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) including Section 5(1) of the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020 (contravention or obstruction of public servant).

The South African national was the first person to have been detected with the Omicron variant, and has since left the country. The other Omicron patient in Bengaluru is a 46-year-old doctor, and he had no travel history. The two positive patients did not come in contact with each other, the BBMP chief had said on December 2, adding that it is not immediately clear how the 46-year-old was infected with Omicron.

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