As more COVID-19 infections are being confirmed from different parts of India, Karnataka as of Thursday has reported five cases, all in state capital Bengaluru.
A 26-year-old man who had travelled to Greece tested positive for the disease on Thursday. According to Karnataka health department officials, the person is a resident of Mumbai, who came back from Greece to the city on March 6. Later on March 8, he travelled from Mumbai to Bengaluru. On March 9, he went to his office, and was in close contact with four out of the 154 people there.
The patient was living with his brother in Bengaluru, who is also under observation. The health department has traced the autorickshaw he travelled in, and kept the driver and his three family members under observation.
“A 26-year-old male patient who came from Greece has tested positive for COVID-19 today. The patient is admitted and isolated at a hospital and is stable. All primary contacts have been traced and are asymptomatic. Home quarantine has been advised and being followed up,” the media bulletin by the health department said.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has declared summer vacation for Bengaluru urban and rural schools. All schools will be closed from March 13, said Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S Suresh Kumar on Thursday.
As per the latest bulletin, 1,220 people have been identified for observation. Of them, 292 persons have completed 28 days of observation and 906 persons are still under home quarantine. These include those who had travelled to coronavirus-affected countries or were in contact with affected individuals.
As of Thursday afternoon, 18 people were admitted in selected isolation wards in state hospitals. So far, 579 samples of symptomatic persons have been sent for testing and 460 samples reported negative.
Thermal screening and checking at Bengaluru and Mangaluru airports have been stepped up. To date, 1,01,942 passengers have been screened in Karnataka. The Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru has screened 69,998 passengers and Mangalore International airport has screened 26,557 passengers. Also, 5,387 passengers have been screened at Mangalore and Karwar seaports.
The first positive case in the state — of a 46-year-old techie — was confirmed on March 9. His wife (47), daughter (13), and a 50-year-old man were added to the list the next day.
However, Bengaluru has been on its toes from at least a week before that, as city-based techie was tested positive for the virus in Hyderabad on March 2. The state government identified and tracked all his primary contacts, fumigated his apartment in Bengaluru, and admitted people connected to him in isolation wards.
All buses of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation have been cleaned with disinfectants. Four border districts — Bidar, Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Raichur — were put on high alert.
More people were soon admitted to isolation wards set up in Bengaluru and in different districts, prior to the official confirmation of the first positive case in the city.
While separate teams were formed to trace details of 2,666 people expected to be among the primary and secondary contacts of the infected person and his family members, the government also decided to shut down primary schools (till Class 5) indefinitely on Monday.
Top officials of various government departments also held discussions with HR representatives of tech companies in the city, apart from meeting representatives of various resident welfare associations (RWAs).
On Tuesday, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa summoned top officials of the government for an emergency meeting. “The government is fully equipped to contain the situation and is closely watching all developments related to the issue,” the CM said after the meeting.
The CM further added that committees under the leadership of the respective Deputy Commissioners had been set up across all districts.
On Wednesday, the Karnataka government began an extensive awareness campaign titled ‘Namaste over handshake’, urging people to avoid unnecessary contact with other persons.
Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has requested citizens to avoid protests and gathering in large numbers, in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus. He also clarified that precautions will be taken during drink-and-drive checks.
With Indian Premier League to begin from March 29, the Karnataka government has sought the Centre’s advice on whether IPL matches should be given the go-ahead. The state has also cancelled all international conferences.
Meanwhile, hand-sanitisers and N-95 masks are flying off the shelves due to panic-buying, medical store proprietors said. According to autorickshaw drivers and security guards, prominent malls in the city have seen a drop in footfall. Several paying-guest accommodations have stopped serving non-vegetarian food to inmates, which among other factors, has hit chicken sales in the city.
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