Two COVID Positive UK Returnees Escape Delhi Airport
By: Sashwata Saha
.While the Union Health Ministry has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding travellers from the United Kingdom — following the British health ministry’s last week discovery of a mutated, more transmissible, strain of COVID-19 — five COVID-positive flyers from Heathrow went untraceable after landing at the Delhi airport on Tuesday.
Three of them were traced within twenty-four hours and admitted to Lok Nayak hospital in the NCR by the same evening, however, one managed to reach Ludhiana, Punjab, while another got to their hometown in Andhra Pradesh. The New Indian Express reports that both were brought back on Wednesday.
According to sources, the person who managed to leave the Delhi airport undetected and reached Ludhiana is a 46-year-old man from Amritsar’s Pandori village. He was travelling back from the UK with his wife and after testing positive, he journeyed to Ludhiana where his nephew works at Fortis, the private hospital. He was isolated there before the authorities took him back to Delhi,
“The patient was shifted back to Delhi today (Wednesday) morning after authorities there wanted him to be sent back. The strain he was carrying is still unknown,” the Ludhiana Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sandeep Kumar was quoted by The Indian Express. “We also isolated two of his closest contacts — his wife and nephew.”
The Ludhiana administration had initially been reluctant to shift the patient back to Delhi. “We were not in favour of shifting the patient back to Delhi because it could lead to spread of the infection… The patient should have been put under institutional quarantine in Delhi itself. We are in the process of tracing his other contacts too,” an official from Ludhiana was quoted by The Quint.
Sources in the Delhi health department said the patient who went to Andhra Pradesh was traced only on Wednesday afternoon, following which they started the process to bring him back. “The department is trying to ascertain the loophole that led to this,” a senior Delhi government official said to PTI.
Five passengers on Air India’s London-Delhi flight had tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival. They were among the 500 passengers who arrived at the Delhi airport from the UK on Tuesday. According to the Centre's new SOPs, COVID-positive passengers from the UK must be shifted to a separate isolation unit, and their samples must be sent for genome sequencing.
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