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200 CCTV cameras, 5 days: Health officials track down elusive contact of Covid patient in Haryana

A 20-year-old shopkeeper had given a lift to a transport company employee on April 23, who tested positive for coronavirus the next day. Which led to massive contact tracing operation to find the shopkeeper.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh | Updated: May 1, 2020 11:43:20 pm
coronavirus patient, contact tracing, Haryana cases, Haryana news, indian express news “The health officials have done commendable job by tracking the shopkeeper,” says Hisar SP Ganga Ram Punia, who deployed police to assist the health officials. (Representational)

Haryana health officials have finally tracked down a suspected coronavirus patient after scanning footage from 200 CCTV cameras installed at shops and business establishments situated in 22 streets of Hisar in a contact tracing mission that lasted five days.

The 20-year-old shopkeeper has now been admitted to Hisar’s government hospital. The shopkeeper had given lift to a transport company employee on his Honda Activa in Hisar on April 23. The employee was next day tested positive for coronavirus. This led to the massive contact tracing operation to find the shopkeeper, who was unknown till then.

Finally, the officials tracked him on April 30.

“The health officials have done commendable job by tracking the shopkeeper,” says Hisar SP Ganga Ram Punia, who deployed police to assist the health officials.

The transport company employee is resident of Dadoli village (Hisar). He was working for a company at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. He took lift in a truck to reach Hisar from Ghaziabad. Then he took a lift from a biker and later the Activa to reach home of his aunt in Hisar. “Before moving to his village, he went to Hisar’s government hospital to get tested for coronavirus,” says Nur Mohammad, a health worker, who was part of the tracking team. Not in a mood to take any risk in the times of coronavirus pandemic, the villagers these days inform the authorities if anybody from other states lands in their village. After his tests were conducted, he went to his village. Next day, he was found positive.

The truck driver, who had given him lift, has tested negative. Other relatives who had come in his contact were also put under home quarantine after the required medical tests.

Then the officials started tracking the drivers of the motorcycle and Activa. The biker, who was guard at a factory, was tracked easily after examination of few CCTV footage, but the Activa posed the problem as the rider was wearing a helmet. “The shopkeeper (Activa owner) had come to Hisar to buy some items from a shop. To avoid challan by police, he took small streets to return to his village from Hisar. In the CCTV images, we saw the items loaded on his Activa. We kept tracking his way with the help of CCTV images which finally led to a neighbouring village Satrod. We put one of the CCTV video clip on WhatsApp groups too. The villagers identified the Activa and the shopkeeper even though his face was not clear,” said Ramesh Punia, a biologist at Hisar’s government hospital, who supervised the tracking process.

Meanwhile, the shopkeeper has been admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital and the doctors are waiting for his medical reports.

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