Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday hinted at stringent action against those returnees from the United Kingdom who were untraceable and had switched off their mobile phones.
It could even be police action against them, the minister indicated.
"I request the UK returnees to cooperate with us as responsible citizens. You have to get tested. If you don't get tested and switch off your phone, then it's a crime in true sense," Sudhakar told reporter.
Replying to queries, he said he would hold a meeting with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai after the cabinet meeting because the UK returnees could not be tracked, have switched off their phones and were not responding to requests through media and social media.
To a question whether police cases will be registered, Sudhakar said, "I am compelled to say that I will discuss with the home minister and decide the future course of action."
According to him, till now 1,614 people have been tested.
Of them, 26 people have tested positive till Sunday evening. Their samples have been sent to the designated lab in NIMHANS.
Later, the report will be sent to the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The minister said all the 26 people have been admitted to the designated hospitals and none of them is in home isolation.
"They are under the supervision of the government and are getting the best treatment. All of them are in good health and none of them are suffering from any serious ailment. They do have mild symptoms," Sudhakar said.
To a question about delay in getting the reports, the minister said test lab reports have to be sent to the ICMR as part of the uniform protocol designed for the entire country.
"If different protocols are adopted in different states then it will cause fear among people. To avoid panic, uniform protocol is adopted pan India," he said.
Sudhakar exuded confidence that the reports on 26 people may come by the end of the day.
He stressed that there was no need to panic with the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus.
"We have not yet confronted the fear so far. Cases are reducing and the fatalities have come down substantially. There are many districts which have not seen a single death for the past many days," he added.