ANANTAPUR: The lack of quarantine facilities and fewer rapid tests carried out on foreign returnees at the Kempe Gowda International Airport at Bengaluru is resulting in health authorities of AP having to scramble to collect the samples and send them for tests including for the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus.
With more than five positive cases among foreign returnees being reported from Rayalaseema for the past 10 days, the administration in the districts in the region and medical teams have to wait at least for three days to get a Covid-19 test report and a few more days for confirmation regarding Omicron.
The Bengaluru airport is the main gateway for the people in Rayalaseema and also foreign tourists who take the road to visit Puttaparthi, Hampi and Goa thereafter.
Many of the arrivals include locals working abroad, foreign visitors including employees of the Rural Development Trust and KIA Motors India in Anantapur district.
Official reports revealed more than 5,000 foreign returnees reached various parts of Rayalaseema in one month. It is said that the Anantapur district administration could not trace more than 70 foreign returns.
An official from the medical department said that the samples of travellers are collected soon after they reach home. It takes at least two days to get a report. During this time, the returnee is not isolated.
Recently, a 22-year-old software engineer returned home and spent time with family members and friends. Much later, he tested positive for the Omicron variant. His sister also tested positive for Omicron though she had no history of travelling abroad. It is suspected she caught the virus from here brother.
"We can prevent more cases if the foreign returnees are tested at the Bengaluru airport and detained till they get a negative report.
Otherwise they must be quarantined in the airport premises", a senior medical official said....