Breaking into a sweat over ‘missing’ foreign returnees

Radheshyam Jadhav | | Updated on: Dec 07, 2021
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Sangli, the sugar bowl of Maharashtra, has a lot to worry about. Out of the 156 foreign returnees to the municipal corporation area, about 76 are “missing” and the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad (SMK) Municipal corporation administration is moving heaven and earth to trace and test them for the Omicron variant.

“In SMK, we have traced 156 foreign returnees. Of these, 43 have returned to their countries. Thirty-seven have undergone RT-PCR tests, out of which 26 have tested negative. Reports of 11 others are awaited. We are not able to trace 76 people since we don't have their correct phone numbers and addresses,” said SMK nodal officer Dr Vaibhav Patil speaking to local media.

But it is not just Sangli. Many other cities in Maharashtra are reporting “missing” foreign returnees. The Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation on Tuesday reported that it was unable to trace 12 foreign returnees, as some of them have switched off their mobile phones while others have provided incomplete addresses. The civic body has contacted the State government to seek assistance to trace the “missing” foreign returnees.

According to Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, 13 foreign returnees are “missing”. The Maharashtra government has asked local governing bodies to take every possible effort to trace the “missing” foreign returnees. In rural parts of Aurangabad, five foreign returnees are yet to be traced.

Worries citizens

Sangli-based Smita Dombale is worried about the “ missing” foreigners. “How can people be so irresponsible? The government must take action against such people who are putting others’ lives at risk,” she said.

Dr Smita Mane, a Pune-based medical practitioner, says all foreign returnees from high-risk countries must be traced if India were to avoid another Covid-19 wave. “There is no need to panic because of Omicron. But at the same time, each and every person coming from foreign countries must be traced to avoid spread of the variant. We have witnessed what happened during the second wave and we must take every possible precaution to avoid that situation again” she said. The State Health Department on Tuesday said that no new case of Omicron variant was reported from Maharashtra.

Not an isolated incident

In Bengaluru, the city police have registered a case against a South African national, who tested positive for the Omicron. He left India three days later using a negative test report. The report now is under suspicion and police have also booked the hotel management where he was under quarantine.

Meanwhile, three more international travellers from ‘at risk” countries – the UK, the Netherlands and Zimbabwe – have tested Covid positive in the National Capital, sources told BusinessLine . All three passengers are Indians and have been admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakask Narayan hospital in Delhi.

(With inputs from Monika Yadav in New Delhi)

Published on December 07, 2021

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