Mumbai: A seven-day quarantine has been made mandatory for all international travellers arriving at the Kempegowda International Airport even if they test negative for coronavirus, a Bengaluru Rural health official said on Monday.
“All international passengers who test negative for COVID on arrival in Bengaluru will be put in quarantine for 7 days. They will be tested again after 7 days. 598 such passengers are under surveillance,” Bengaluru Rural District Health Officer Tippeswamy said after inspecting Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL) airport on Monday.
The decision comes after two people who returned from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19 amid concerns over the new variant ‘Omicron’.
Tippeswamy also held a meeting with senior officials of health and airport authorities.
“We are also conducting RT PCR test at the airport for the passengers arriving from high-risk countries. If they are found negative, then they will be suggested to home quarantine. If the passenger tests positive, they will be sent to a designated hospital for isolation,” he added, ANI reported.
Karnataka’s health minister said on Monday that the sample of one of the two people who returned from South Africa appeared to be “different from the delta variant”.
According to experts, the Omicron variant contains “related” mutations that may make it more transmissible and allow it to evade immunity. However, he stressed that vaccines are still an important tool.
The B.1.1.529 COVIDvariant, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a Variant of Concern (VOC).