South Africa returnee tests Covid positive in Dombivli, sample sent to check for new strain, Health News, ET HealthWorld

South Africa returnee tests Covid positive in Dombivli, sample sent to check for new strainKALYAN: A 32-year-old merchant navy engineer who returned to his Dombivli home from Cape Town via Dubai and Delhi, has tested positive for Covid-19 and his samples will be sent for genome sequencing to check for the new Omicron variant.

The engineer tested positive at Delhi airport itself on November 24, but was picked up in Dombivli on Sunday as a part of a drive started by municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region to check on the 466 people who returned from Omicron-detected nations from November 12 to 26.

Although asymptomatic, he has been placed in a government quarantine centre and his samples will be sent to Kasturba Hospital’s new genome sequencing laboratory early on Monday, said health officials from Kalyan-Dombivli civic body.

Earlier, when the health officials called up the engineer to enquire about his health status, he wasn’t too forthcoming about his travel details. The health team found out about his Covid status after his brother went to a private laboratory in Dombivli to get tested for the viral infection; he told the lab officials that his brother had returned from South Africa and was Covid positive.

KDMC health officer Dr Pratibha Panpatil said, “The lab immediately informed me about the case and our staff visited the engineer and brought him to the quarantine centre at the Art Gallery in Kalyan.” She said the patient is asymptomatic and stable.

BMC additional commissioner Suresh Kakani said 97 out of the 466 travellers who arrived at the city airport from “countries of concern” between November 12 and 26 were from Mumbai. “We have contacted each one of them via phone and our staff even visited them. We found that none tested positive for Covid on return or during a retest after a seven-day period,’’ said Kakani. The BMC will, however, follow up with RT-PCR tests on Monday. Details of the remaining names on the list have been shared with the civic authorities concerned.

The emergence of the Omicron variant in southern Africa has led to worldwide curbs on travellers from the countries where the variant has been detected. It is thou-ght to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, which caused the second wave in India, but South Africa health officials have been quoted as saying that it has so far caused mild disease in patients.

(Inputs by Richa Pinto)