Health workers at the Gaya airport say that hordes of people are landing to attend the Buddhist event but only a handful are agreeing to get tested.
Amid Omicron BF7 scare, five foreigners -three from UK and two from Myanmar have tested positive for COVID-19 at Gaya airport, which is only five kms away from temple city of Bodh Gaya where Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama will be holding a three-day teaching session. They are asymptomatic and have been quarantined.Health workers at the Gaya airport say that tourists are landing at the airport to attend the Buddhist event but only a handful are agreeing to get tested. “They are just appearing and leaving without getting tested. They are showing a lot of resistance. Huge number of people have turned up for the event,” said Ajesh Kumar, health worker.
FLASH: After 5 foreigners tested positive for Covid in Gaya, health workers at the airport demand more man power to handle travellers at airports.
Many Buddhist pilgrims are going from airport without any test. pic.twitter.com/zLKClDs0q1
— The New Indian (@TheNewIndian_in) December 26, 2022
Tourists from 50 countries are expected to travel to Gaya to attend a Buddhist event being chaired by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who is in the holy city for a three-day teaching on Nagarjuna’s “Commentary on Bodhichitta” at the Kalachakra Teaching Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar.
On 20 December, the five infected people were part of a cohort of 33 passengers who reached Bodh Gaya to attend the event. All infected people have been isolated in a hotel. All these 33 passengers had arrived at Gaya Airport from Bangkok on 20 December. Three of the infected are residents of England, while one is from Myanmar.
With a global surge in Covid-19 cases in China and several other countries, the Indian government has begun to closely monitor the situation. States have been asked to keep a vigil on mask adherence and ensure that citizens follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Officially the government has not imposed any restriction on celebrations. However, it has been advised that people wear masks in crowded places, maintain physical distance and also getting vaccinated.
Last week Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said India had started randomly testing 2% of international travellers from December 22. India has reported at least three cases of Omicron sub-variant BF.7. In order to keep track of new variants all states have been asked to conduct genome sequencing of every Covid case in a timely manner.