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Bengaluru health officials worry over possible large-scale spread of Omicron variant

A health department official said that whether this variant evolved in India and is spreading in the community will be found out in the next few days
Last Updated : 03 December 2021, 05:01 IST
Last Updated : 03 December 2021, 05:01 IST
Last Updated : 03 December 2021, 05:01 IST
Last Updated : 03 December 2021, 05:01 IST

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A 46-year-old doctor who was infected with the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could have caught the virus while attending an international conference at a star hotel in Bengaluru two weeks ago. However, sources said he could have been infected earlier, suggesting a possible large-scale spread of the new mutant.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare specified that the doctor who was working at a government hospital in South Bengaluru had attended the conference being held at a star hotel in the central business district between November 18 and the 20. "It is possible that he contracted the virus during this conference which was attended by delegates from other countries and from other states in India,” said one of the top officials of the department.

At the same time, a source said that the doctor had attended the conference only on the last day. According to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), he developed symptoms of fever and body ache just a day later, on November 21. Experts agreed that this incubation period is too small for the disease to generate symptoms.

“Following the discovery that his test report had low CT-values, it was decided to send his sample for genomic sequencing -- it was really an accidental finding that he had Omicron,” a government source said. “The million-dollar question now is if the large-scale spread is happening,” the source added.

The health department official agreed that whether this variant evolved in India and is spreading in the community will be found out in the next few days. “We are doing a lot of cluster testing -- so now 100 per cent of cluster testing is going for genomic sequencing and there is every good chance that we will catch something,” the officer said. The virus "could have also [come from a] patient with travel history he was treating," the officer added.

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Published 03 December 2021, 04:46 IST

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