CM, Health Minister hold a series of high-level meetings on the way forward
Bengaluru: As Karnataka became the first State to report the first Omicron cases in India, the administrative machinery is on high alert and new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are likely to be announced.
A 66-year-old South African national, who arrived in Bengaluru via Dubai last month and a 46-year-old doctor at a private hospital in Bengaluru, with no travel history, are the first two cases of Omicron to be detected in India. The primary and the secondary contacts (24 primary and 240 secondary) of these two patients have been tested and kept under watch.
Both were fully vaccinated before testing positive and displayed only mild symptoms. But the presence of Omicron in a person with no travel history has resulted in officials and experts warning of the “possible presence” of the new variant among others in Bengaluru.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai who was in New Delhi was scheduled to chair a high-level meeting at 1 pm today to discuss the measures to be taken in the light of the two Omicron cases.
This apart, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar too is holding a series of meetings with officers, doctors and healthcare experts. He is consulting deans and medical superintendents of Government Medical Colleges to work out the way ahead. Several clusters of students testing positive have been reported from the State.
“We are conducting contact tracing. I will be holding a meeting with health experts at 1 pm today. I have spoken to Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, he will get back to me with some guidelines,” the CM told reporters today as he arrived at the Kempegowda International Airport this morning from New Delhi.
New SOPs are likely to be announced after the CM’s meeting with the experts. However, it is unlikely that there will be any lockdown as the CM earlier ruled out the possibility of imposing any lockdown. “There is no question of imposing a lockdown now as it will hit economic activities. Normal life should go on and some restrictions including 100 percent mask wearing and social distancing will be back,” sources said.
Minister Dr. Sudhakar yesterday said there is no need to panic over Omicron as surveillance is going on. “People can carry on with their day-to-day activities with strict adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour,” he tweeted.
While early indications have suggested the heavily-mutated Omicron may be markedly more contagious than previous variants, there has been no evidence of the strain any deadlier.
Experts have observed low CT (cycle threshold) value in these cases and that is why samples of all international travellers testing positive with low CT value are being sent for genome sequencing. The CT value emerges in RT-PCR tests for the Coronavirus, and determines whether a person is positive for COVID-19 or not.
“How it (Omicron) spreads, we can’t say as of now, but there is no need to worry as all the six cases identified so far don’t have any major health issues. We have seen the Delta variant, it had intensity, more issues like breathing, such things have not been noticed so far. Symptoms here are mild,” Dr. Sudhakar said.