Passengers from the U.K., who test positive after arriving in the State, will not be allowed home isolation irrespective of symptoms till their genome sequencing is completed.
The genome sequencing of the positive samples (done to ascertain if they are infected with the new strain of the virus) is likely to take at least four days. “Till then, those who test positive will be isolated in a separate unit in an institutional isolation facility,” Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) told The Hindu on Wednesday.
If the report of the genomic sequencing is consistent with the current SARS-CoV-2 virus genome circulating in the country, the ongoing treatment protocol, including home isolation/ treatment at facility level as per case severity, will be followed.
“However, if the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of a new variant of SARS CoV-2 then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. The patient will be tested on the 14th day, after having tested positive in the initial test. In case the sample is found positive on the 14th day, further samples will be taken until his/her two consecutive samples taken 24 hours apart are tested negative,” he said.
While Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said that nearly 2,500 passengers had arrived from the U.K. in the State from December 1 till date, the media bulletin shared by the Health Department stated Tuesday’s figure of 2,127 passengers.
“Two flights per day arrived during this period. Details of all the passengers are available and every single passenger is being kept under strict vigilance,” he said.
Stating that health officials are also tracking all those who landed in the State from November 25 onwards, the Minister said all passengers will undergo 28 days compulsory quarantine. “Our officials will monitor their health for the initial 14 days. After that individuals will have to voluntarily restrict themselves at home,” he said.
He said the genome sequencing will be done free of cost in four institutes in Bengaluru including IISc., NIMHANS and NCBS.
One more returnee positive
Another 45-year-old male U.K. returnee from the city’s West Zone, who arrived in the city on December 20, has tested positive on Wednesday, according to BBMP officials. Earlier, a woman and her daughter had tested positive. They have been isolated in Victoria Hospital. A total of 980 swabs have been collected so far from U.K. travellers.