A medical college in Dharwad, north Karnataka, has become a COVID-19 hotspot with 77 more people testing positive for the coronavirus, taking the number of cases to 281.
New admissions to SDM College of Medical Sciences have been suspended and entry and exit to the hospital has been sealed. Schools and colleges in a radius of 500 metres have also been shut.
Most of those infected were fully vaccinated, officials said, adding that a days-long party organised inside the campus led to the outbreak.
Dr Sudarshan Ballal, the chairman of Manipal Hospital and member of COVID task force team in Karnataka, said the cluster is a cause of concern. “There was a large cluster that has turned to be positive and all of them were at an event. This means the variant of this virus is infectious. Second concern, all the students were fully vaccinated, which means there is a immune escape phenomena,” he said.
Genomic sequencing will help decide on the new kind of variant, Dr Ballal said.
“113 positive samples have been sent to Strand Life Sciences, Bangalore. Genome Sequencing is expected to be completed by December 1,” state health commissioner D Randeep said.
On Friday Karnataka reported 402 new COVID cases and six deaths. As per the health department, the state has 6,611 active cases of infection. Karnataka has recorded 29,94,963 infections since the onset of the pandemic last year.