Omicron already present in community, K'taka in battle mode

by IANS |

Bengaluru, Dec 4 (IANS) The Karnataka government is worried over the findings of the health department which show that the Omicron variant is already present in the community. The government is taking steps on war footing to deal with any eventuality, according to sources in the health department.

Former Minister, senior Congress leader H.K. Patil has said that there are more than 16 cases of Omicron in the state as per his sources. He blamed the government for not taking swift action. He also urged the government to ramp up facilities for immediate test results. It is taking about 10 to 12 days now for the report of Omicron.

However, the data collected on the history of the doctor who tested positive for the Omicron variant showed that he had contracted the virus locally.

Earlier, it was suspected that the doctor contracted the virus at an International Medical Conference organised at a five star hotel between November 19 and 21. Three doctors who attended it tested Covid positive and one of them is found to have been infected with the Omicron variant.

The doctor attended the conference for a few hours on November 20. He started showing symptoms on November 21. Hence, health department officials are now thinking that the doctor might have contracted the Omicron virus much before the conference. Since he didn't have travel history it shows that the virus is very much present in the community, sources said.

The conference was physically attended by 60 healthcare workers. As many as 163 operation theatre staff, their co-workers and patients have been tested for Covid as some of them attended the conference. All have tested negative. They have no symptoms and they will be retested. At least 81 hotel staffers have also tested negative, sources explain.

However, H.K. Patil charged that the state government has not taken initiative to track contacts in connection with the International Medical conference held in Bengaluru.

Minister for Revenue R. Ashok stated that as per available statistics there are 400 cases of Omicron in the world. An official report based on studies of the Omicron variant is yet to come. "As per informal inputs we have Omicron variant symptoms that are not severe. People affected with it are showing mild symptoms. No deaths have been reported so far due to the Omicron variant," he stated.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has given directions to restart Covid control rooms throughout the state and has asked civic authorities to hire required staff. It has also been told to check and ensure oxygen supply network, availability of oxygen, transportation, condition of oxygen plants, ICU beds and oxygenated beds at the hospitals.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been directed to hire staff immediately for restarting the BBMP control room. Directions are also being given to purchase required medicines.

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