The Karnataka government on Friday ordered an inquiry into the Covid-19 test report of a South African, who is one of the two people testing positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease in India, reported PTI.

The 66-year-old South African man had arrived in Bengaluru on November 20 and tested positive on the same day at a hotel where he had checked in. However, when the man took a Covid-19 test at a private lab in Bengaluru, his results came negative when he took another test three days later. After that, he left for Dubai on November 27. His samples were sent for genome sequencing on November 22.

Besides him, a 46-year-old man has tested positive for the Omicron variant. This man did not have any travel history.

The investigation into the South African resident’s test report has been ordered to ascertain how he got a negative report three days after testing positive as well as about him reportedly attending a meeting and leaving the country when his genome sequencing results were awaited.

“Whether there was any mishandling, whether the lab tests were accurate or was there any wrong doing, the police commissioner has been directed to investigate this,” Revenue Minister R Ashoka said.

Ashoka added that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Bengaluru’s civic body, has filed a complaint with the police to “understand what went wrong at Shangri-La Hotel that the person escaped”, reported India Today.

“Two reports one positive and one negative is doubtful,” Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. “So the lab must be investigated. So we have asked the police commissioner to investigate immediately in coordination with the health department.”

Some reports have also claimed that 10 other South African citizens who had travelled to Bengaluru have disappeared. The Karnataka government has asked its officials to look into this.

“By tonight all 10 people who have reportedly gone missing should be traced and they should be tested,” Ashoka said. “Travellers will not be allowed to leave the airport until their report is out.”

Health Minister K Sudhakar, however, said that there was no official information on the 10 South African citizens going missing. But he said that the police are efficient enough to find them.

“My appeal is that no one should switch off their mobiles and go untraceable,” Sudhakar said. “It is not the right way. They should behave responsibly.”

Meanwhile, the Union health ministry has said that the severity of the Omicron variant in India could be low because of the pace of vaccination in the country.

The new strain of coronavirus called Omicron was first detected in South Africa on November 24. The World Health Organization classified the variant, also known as the B.1.1.529 strain, as a variant of concern on November 27.

A variant of concern has the highest threat perception among other coronavirus variants because of its increased transmissibility, infectivity, or resistance to vaccines

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