After Omicron Cases Confirmed, "Missing" Passengers A Worry: 10 Facts

The government has said "severity of the disease (after being infected by the Omicron strain) is anticipated to be low" because of vaccination and some natural immunity

Omicron: The B.1.1.529 strain was first identified in South Africa last week (File)

New Delhi: After India confirmed its first Omicron Covid cases, concerns have been raised over foreign arrivals - particularly those from 'at risk' countries - evading mandatory Covid tests and quarantine protocols, and potentially spreading the virus further.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. In Uttar Pradesh's Meerut, 13 of nearly 300 people on flights originating outside the country disappeared after providing false addresses and contact information. Seven flew in from South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first reported, news agency ANI reported. Officials are trying to track and test them for COVID-19, ANI said.

  2. Chandigarh officials have registered a case against a woman who returned from South Africa and broke quarantine rules on landing in India. The woman landed Wednesday and tested negative on arrival. She was asked to home quarantine for a week, but she broke isolation the following day to check into a hotel before returning home.

  3. As many as 10 passengers - reportedly South Africans - have gone missing from Bengaluru airport. Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashok said airport security, police and the health department are working to track them down and carry out Covid tests.

  4. This comes after a 66-year-old South African - India's first confirmed Omicron Covid case - "fled" the country a week after landing in Bengaluru. The man, who had received both vaccine doses, tested positive on arrival and (because he was asymptomatic) asked to self-isolate. His samples were sent for testing.

  5. However, a week later (before the strain was identified) he got a negative test from a private city lab and flew to Dubai. Efforts are on to track him down and isolate primary and secondary contacts in Dubai; those in India - 264 in total - have tested negative.

  6. 12 suspected Omicron cases have been admitted to a Delhi hospital after arriving on international flights over the past few days. Eight have tested positive for Covid. Results for the other four have not yet been released. Samples have been forwarded for genome sequencing to confirm the strain, the hospital's Medical Director told NDTV.

  7. Yesterday two international passengers, including a child, coming from an 'at risk' nation tested Covid positive on arrival at Chennai airport. Samples have been sent for sequencing. The Tamil Nadu government has denied reports they are Omicron patients.

  8. Also yesterday, nine members of a Jaipur family tested positive days after four returned from South Africa. The latter four have been isolated at a government hospital in Jaipur and samples from all nine have been sent for DNA sequencing, news agency PTI said.

  9. At least 18 other Covid cases were reported between Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh this week, some of which were patients who landed before India's strict new Omicron travel rules took effect. A number of these people were returning from 'at risk' nations. They have been isolated, and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing.

  10. India this week reported its first Omicron Covid cases - the 66-year-old South African national who "fled" and a 46-year-old Bengaluru doctor. The government has said more cases of the highly transmissible variant are expected, and urged people to both follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and ensure they get the mandated double vaccination dose.

With input from ANI, PTI