One S African traveller infected by variant different from Delta: Karnataka health minister

Sudhakar said that clinicians who have treated patients infected by the new variant have said the Omicron variant spreads rapidly but is not as virulent as the Delta variant. Neither does it require hospitalisation or ICU treatment

One of the South Africans travellers, who is 63 years old, has been infected by a COVID-19 variant that is seemingly different from the Delta one. The Karnataka government has sought clarity from the ICMR and the Union health ministry on the issued have clarity by this evening," reiterated

One of the two foreign nationals from South Africa who had tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Bengaluru has been affected by “a variant different from the Delta variant”, said the state health minister Dr K Sudhakar.

Earlier, even as speculation was rife that the two foreigners may have been infected by the new Omicron variant that is causing worldwide concern, the authorities had issued a clarification that the two South Africans had the Delta variant after a genome sequencing test was done. The situation seems to have changed now.

Refusing to comment on whether one of the South Africans has been infected by the Omicron variant, Sudhakar said that the Karnataka government was however seeking clarity on the issue with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the ministry of health at the Centre. According to the health minister, one of the South Africans, who is 63 years old, has been infected by a variant that is seemingly different from the Delta variant.

“The ICMR has been consulted and we should have clarity by this evening,” reiterated Sudhakar, said an Indian Express report.

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Also read: Not clear if Omicron is more transmissible than other variants: WHO

On Friday (November 26), however, Bengaluru district authorities had made it clear that the two travellers were infected with the Delta variant and not the new Omicron variant that has been reported in South Africa.

Sudhakar however also added that what was reassuring is that after speaking to colleagues and medical experts in other countries, including South Africa, he has learnt that clinicians who have treated patients infected by the new variant have said the Omicron variant spreads rapidly but is not as virulent as the Delta variant. Moreover, the disease will not be as severe as well.

The symptoms for the Omicron variant are nausea, high pulse rates etc., and a lot of tiredness. And, unlike the previous variants, the symptoms of loss of taste and smell are not pronounced. The hospitalisation and ICU treatment are low as well. “This is what doctors who are friends are saying regarding their experience over the last 15 days with infections by the new variant,” Dr Sudhakar said, the IE report added. The government will get more information on the characteristics and patterns of the new variant on December 1.

As per the latest information, the variant has been seen in 12 different countries.  Karnataka will now track and monitor all those international travellers who have come from these countries in the past 15 days. Katnataka state technical advisory committee is in constant touch with the state health ministry and the former will participate in a meeting to be held on Tuesday (November 29) to decide on additional measures to curb the spread of the virus, Dr Sudhakar said.

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