BENGALURU : Even as the on Tuesday directed the state to take immediate steps to quarantine passengers arriving from UK and subject them to RT-PCR test and submit the details of tests conducted, the state machinery has already swung into action to trace and track them.
The government has received a list of passengers who arrived from the UK between November 25 and December 22. It is now collecting samples of these passengers and genome sequencing will be done to determine whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the new variant emerging and spreading in the UK.
As on December 22, at least 2,127 passengers had arrived in Karnataka from the UK and moved to 28 districts of the state.
Of these, 233 samples have been collected, 179 of which are from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike limits, Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts. Mysuru has the second largest largest chunk with 119 UK returnees, followed by Mangaluru with 58.
In Bengaluru, in west zone, there are 287 returnees from the UK; 45 in east zone; 2 in Dasarahalli; in south zone, 29; in Mahadevapura zone, 40, all of whose test results are awaited. “We are collecting samples of not only the ones who have arrived in the last 14 days but from all passengers who have entered state between November 25 and December 22, irrespective of them being symptomatic or asymptomatic,” said Dr K Sudhakar, Minister for Health.
Rajendra Cholan, BBMP Special Commissioner, health, said that zone-wise teams have been formed with five people in each to exclusively collect samples and data of all those who came from the UK. “If any passenger tests positive, their primary and secondary contacts will be traced and tested. Zone-wise teams have been formed, with five people in each time to collect the samples. They have been assigned the exclusive task of only collecting the samples and data of all those who came from UK,” he said.
Samples of people who test positive will be sent for genome sequencing tests (GST) to identify whether the virus is a new variant or not.
Experts say each GS test will cost the government Rs 25,000 and reports will take a minimum of three days. According to Dr K Nagaraj, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, the samples for the gene testing will be sent to NIMHANS.
Cholan said there were 600 mobile teams in place and “no additional hotel rooms are being taken up for institutional quarantine. The existing hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated will be used to house positive patients for institutional quarantine”.
The teams are also ensuring that primary and secondary contacts of positive patients, even if in another state, will be tracked and the respective state authorities informed. Genome sequencing will be done for primary and secondary contacts also, said an officer on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, a round-the-clock testing facility was launched at the Kempegowda International Airport on Tuesday. The kiosk facility, certified by the National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration of Laboratories and Indian Council for Medical Research and jointly launched by BIAL and Auriga Research Private Limited, also includes the Rapid PCR test which gives results in 13 minutes, costing Rs 2,400 per test. The normal RT-PCR test will cost Rs 800 with results in 24 hours.
“Until the test results are received, those tested would be required to wait in a specially demarcated area,” a BIAL release said. Slots for testing can be pre-booked on https://testing-lab.com/covid19-testing-center.
Governmentt issues SOPs for markets
Sub-committee to be formed at each market to ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour
Mask dispensing kiosks to be set up at entry points, parking lots.
Set up hand washing stations in public, sanitiser dispensers, thermal screening in shops
People advised to stay home: People aged above 65, children below 10, pregnant women, people with comorbidities
Market employees who are high-risk to take precautions
Physical distancing, sanitising in markets
Ensure no crowding during weekends, civil defence volunteers, marshals to keep check