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After two cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 were detected in Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai chaired a high-level meeting yesterday to  analyze and advise on the test report of both the cases. Meanwhile, a probe has been ordered after one of the two men found positive for Omicron in Karnataka went missing after taking a Covid negative certificate from a private lab.

Karnataka is the first state in India where the new strain has been detected. So far, a total 400 cases have been reported across the world. 

Omicron patient escapes

The 66-year-old South African national reached Bengaluru on November 20 tested positive for COVID-19 at the airport. His samples were then sent for genome sequencing, the reports of which came on Thursday, confirming he was infected by Omicron.

The person was isolated in a hotel, and subsequently underwent a test separately for which his reports came out negative. He left for Dubai on November 27.

“Two reports- one positive and one negative- is doubtful. So the lab must be investigated. So we have asked the police commissioner to investigate immediately in coordination with the health department," the CM said.

The state is also trying to track down 10 more South African travellers who reportedly went missing from the airport.

International travellers to be tested at the airport

International passengers will be checked at the airport and sent outside only after getting the negative report, Bommai said at the meeting. Testing machines are additionally being installed for the convenience of passengers.

“In talks with airline companies, it has been suggested to create awareness among passengers."

Karnataka issues new COVID-19 guidelines 

Amid the Omicron scare, Karnataka government on Friday issues new COVID-19 guidelines. 

-Government postponed all events in educational institutes till January 15.

The entry to malls, cinema halls/theatres shall be allowed only to those who are vaccinated with two doses of Covid vaccines.

- It is emphasised that all gathering, meeting, conferences, etc, should strictly limit number of participants to 500 people only and Covid-appropriate behaviour shall be strictly enforced during the event, the responsibility to enforce the same lies with the organisers.

- All cultural activities/fests, functions have been postponed till 15 January next year in all educational institutions.

- Parents of students (aged below 18) going to schools, colleges should be mandatorily vaccinated with both doses of Covid vaccine.

State prepares to tackle virus surge 

During the meeting on Friday, Bommai directed the Department of Health to make arrangements to provide treatment facilities. Oxygenated beds should be furnished and suggested that oxygen plants be equipped.

"Oxygen availability, transportation, supply network must be awakened. It is suggested to ensure the availability of drugs, to increase the detection rate of the connected. It was decided to start a statewide control room," said the Chief Minister.

(With inputs from agencies)

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