Dharwad: As many as 99 more medical college students and faculty members were tested COVID-19 positive in Karnataka's Dharwad, taking the total number of affected medical students to 281 on Saturday, informed Dharwad District Collector Nitesh Patil.
"This tally may increase as 1,822 test results are awaited," said Patil.
He further said that out of 281 only six patients are mile symptomatic and others are non-symptomatic. All have been quarantined and treatment is given.
SDM College of Medical Sciences in Karnataka's Dharwad has reported 66 positive cases. After this, the district administration tested more people including students, staff and primary contacts of infected students, and 116 of them tested positive on Friday, taking the total number of infected students to 182.
The students had attended a function held on November 17 in the college campus.
Patients have not shown serious symptoms associated with the virus due to the fact they have all taken both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine. As a preventive measure, a holiday has been declared in educational institutions in a radius of 500 meters near the college till Sunday.
Nitesh Patel, the District Collector had earlier said, "We are doing RAT and RTPCR tests of around 3,000 people inside the campus. College administration has been directed to not allow any visitors inside the campus. Attendees will be not allowed inside the hospital where the patients are undergoing treatment."
Karnataka reported 402 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths on Saturday. As per the state's health department, the state has 6,611 active cases of infection. Karnataka has recorded 29,94,963 infections since the onset of the pandemic last year.
With 277 recoveries reported in the last 24 hours, the total recoveries climbed to 29,50,130. The death toll is 38,193. Of the six deaths reported on Friday, one each was reported in Bengaluru Urban, Dakshina Kannada, Dharwada, Hassana, Kodagu and Raichuru.
Meanwhile, 12 Kerala students of a nursing college in Anekal on the outskirts of Bengaluru tested positive for COVID, and 33 students and a staff member have tested positive for infection at a private unaided (boarding) school on Thursday in Dommasandra near Sarjapura.
Officials said all the precautionary measures have been taken at both these institutions.
Noting that samples of students who have tested positive at Dharwad's SDM Medical College have been sent for genomic sequencing, Health Minister K Sudhakar said, "so far 281 people there have tested positive (for COVID), some samples have been sent for genomic sequencing and the reports are expected by December first week, so that we will get to know about the variant."
Observing that from last one week in four to five countries like Botswana, South Africa, Hong Kong and Israel, new variant have been found, he said, "since last nine months delta variant was spreading across the world and the two doses of vaccine we have been administering had the power to prevent its spread, but the information is that this new variant B.1.1.529 or Omicron is spreading very rapidly."
"There seems to be some worry about it (new variant), but I want to tell people that there is no need to worry as of now. We have already held a meeting in this regard and have given guidelines for airports stating that those travelling from these countries to Bengaluru have to undergo a test despite having COVID test report, and they will be allowed outside the airport only after testing negative," he said.
"Even after testing negative they will have to remain at home and after seven days they will have to undergo a test once again, and after getting a negative report, one can go out," he added.