A UK returnee arrived via Mumbai has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now being isolated at ESI hospital, Margao while awaiting for her genomic testing report.
She had returned to Mumbai from the UK on February 07th with a negative Covid report. But later she reportedly developed a fever and when tested at a private hospital in South Goa was tested positive on February 13th.
This was the first case detected in the state after direct UK flights to and from Goa were stopped early in January. The Government of India had announced a temporary ban on flights coming from the UK commencing from 11.59 p.m. on December 22, in wake of a new fast-spreading mutated strain of coronavirus which had gripped the island nation and had gone into lockdown mode since.
Furthermore according to the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry required all passengers returning from the UK till February 14th who test positive to be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate unit.
“Presently those returning from the UK who test positive for Covid-19 are isolated at the ESI hospital until they receive their results from genomic sequencing (which checks if they are carrying the new variant) or until their RT-PCR tests are negative when they are retested after 14 days” said State epidemiologist, Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar.
According to the ministry’s protocol, information regarding any passenger who moves to another state is sent to the state health authority. “All airports share the data with us. Once we receive this data we call and follow up with the returnees. Those who test negative are allowed 14 days home isolation,” Betodkar said.
After the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the UK, the SOP was released on December 22 stating that all those who travelled from or transited from the UK from November 25 to December 23 be isolated.
While the state government has guaranteed to provide better facilities for those in isolation, some of the UK returnees, who were isolated at ESI hospital after testing positive complained that for nearly two weeks they were isolated without any conclusive results on their testing for the new strain of Covid-19, and were mentally scarred by the experience.