2 UK returnees test positive for Covid-19 in Bengaluru

Two UK returnees test positive for Covid-19 in Bengaluru

A worker sprays disinfectant at the Kempegowda International Airport. Credit: PTI Photo

Two returnees from the United Kingdom tested positive for Covid-19 in the city on Tuesday. Their samples are undergoing genomic testing to determine if they have contracted a new variant of the virus.

According to official data, the state has collected test samples from 223 international fliers as of Tuesday, most of them from Bengaluru. The two positive cases are a 35-year-old woman and her six-year-old daughter, who are residents of ward 197 (Vasanthapura).

They were discovered after the government reintroduced a crash testing programme to screen arrivals from the United Kingdom, to curb a potential spread by a new and potentially more infectious variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19.

BBMP joint commissioner for Bommanahalli, Ramakrishna, told DH that the family of three had flown from London to Bengaluru on December 19, but had already sought out an RT-PCR test at Apollo Hospital as a precautionary measure.

“When we visited the family, the husband informed us that his wife and daughter have tested positive for Covid-19,” Ramakrishna said, adding that both cases were immediately moved into a special isolation facility set up at Victoria Hospital to handle suspected UK infections.

The husband, who had tested negative, was placed in home isolation. Samples were collected from the two patients and sent to a special lab set up at Nimhans to conduct a genomic analysis to determine if they are carriers of the new virus.

With the central government having stated that all UK fliers must be tested going back to November 25, the state faces the task of tracking down all passengers. Additional chief secretary (health), Jawaid Akhtar, told DH that the government was collecting the passenger manifests of all flights from the UK to Karnataka.

The ACS explained that the plan is to test people who have not undergone RT-PCR testing up to 72 hours prior to boarding the flights. “Nearly 70 to 80% of airline fliers have an RT-PCR test done beforehand, necessitating the state to test the balance of 20 to 30%,” he said.

2,217 int'l fliers assessed

Of the 2,127 international fliers assessed by health officials so far, samples were collected from 223 individuals. Out of these, 179 are from Bengaluru (including rural, urban and BBMP limits). 

BBMP limits show a slightly higher number of 211 samples collected, out of which the largest numbers are from East Zone (48), Mahadevapura (40), Bommanahalli (38), South Zone (29), West Zone (27), Yelahanka (14), RR Nagar Zone (13) and Dasarahalli (2). 

Mysuru had the next highest number of international fliers from the UK with 119, out of which three samples were collected for testing.