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COVID-19, Omicron: This morning, Karnataka reported 373 new cases in the previous 24 hours (File)Bengaluru: The Karnataka Health Department on Friday released guidelines for the discharge of COVID-19 patients who have recovered after testing positive for the Omicron variant.India’s first two Omicron Covid patients were both reported from Karnataka.The first – a 66-year-old foreign national took a flight out of the country after securing a negative report from a private lab. The second – a 46-year-old Bengaluru doctor – had been discharged from hospital before being asked to return when Omicron was confirmed. He later tested positive for a second time.Questions had been raised, in both instances, about the Health Department’s handling of the cases.The new guidelines say patients with ‘moderate’ Covid can be discharged 10 days after the onset of symptoms provided certain criteria are met, including:Being symptom free for the last three consecutive daysO2 levels of more than 95 per cent (without oxygen support) for four consecutive daysTwo negative RT-PCR test reports 24 hours apartAfter discharge, home quarantine is advised for seven more days, with self-monitoring for symptoms and follow-ups from the district surveillance officer.Home quarantine can end if a RT-PCR test conducted on the sixth day is negative.For severe cases, including immunocompromised patients, the discharge protocol includes two negative RT-PCR tests (24 hours apart) three days after complete clinical recovery.Any deviations from these protocols will be viewed seriously, the circular cautions.Karnataka’s Covid case numbers were declining, but the past weeks have seen a worrying increase, with more than a few hundred infections reported as ‘clusters’ from educational institutions.The state government, however, is not considering a ban on offline classes at this time. At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, it was decided to wait another week before deciding on further restrictions.

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