The Karnataka health department conducted medical screenings and took blood samples of all the 25 people working with the Bengaluru-based techie, who was tested positive for coronavirus in Hyderabad on Monday. The department also screened residents of the apartment where techie was staying along with one of his roommates.
The patient had travelled to Dubai from Bengaluru on February 17. He later travelled to Hyderabad on February 22 and consulted a private hospital complaining of fever. As his flu did not subside, he was referred to Gandhi Medical Hospital on March 1.
On Tuesday, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu along with Medical Education Minister Dr. K Sudhakar conducted a meeting with the health department reviewing the precautionary measures taken to tackle the virus.
“Once we received information from the Telangana health department about the techie on Monday, we traced all the contacts he made in two days after he returned from Dubai. Twenty-five people in the company, where he was working, have been isolated in their homes and screening is being carried. We have also contacted all the passengers on the bus in which he travelled and they have been screened. The blood samples of all the passengers of the flight, in which he traveled from Dubai to Bengaluru, have been collected as well,” Sriramulu said.
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The Health Department has directed the 25 employees to work from home. The bus in which the techie traveled to Hyderabad from Bengaluru was given a chemical wash. The department has also visited the techie’s apartment where he was staying and screened all the residents of 92 flats in the building and collected the blood sample of his roommate.
Dr. K Sudhakar said, “Our officials are in touch with all the primary contacts of the techie and we will follow up with them for 14 days and monitor them.”
The department has set up isolation wards in all the district government hospitals and 1,690 private hospitals in the state.
Speaking to the indianexpress.com, Karnataka Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said, “Two institutes- Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute and National Institute of Virology located near Nimhans will test for Coronavirus samples.”
A list of don’ts issued to drivers, conductors
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) managing director C Shikha issued an advisory to all staff including drivers and conductors to wear masks and a list of don’ts.
While the bus crew has been asked to avoid contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, the advisory also mentions people not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth with their hands. “Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Sneeze and cough in arm or elbow instead of land. Use the mask if you suspect that you are sick or are helping sick people,” the advisory reads.
Bengaluru’s largest bus terminal, Kempegowda Bus Station, was also put on high alert since Tuesday morning. “An official communication was sent to all depots to clean the inside surfaces of buses including door handle, armrest, and other parts with chlorine or alcohol-based disinfectants,” Shikha said.
Another BMTC official said an internal communication campaign was already underway for the staff since February, spreading awareness on preventive measures. “Information was sent to the staff, drivers, and conductors through WhatsApp, pamphlets, and email. This campaign has now been enhanced with messages broadcast on the LCD screens located in most crowded locations from inputs from the World Health Organisation and health department,” the official added.
Similar measures have been taken by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) which operates inter-state bus services in other locations as well.
The health department has so far screened 39,399 people at the Bengaluru international airport, 245 samples have been sent for testing out of which 238 samples returned negative, and 179 Passengers have completed 28 days of observation.
Following the confirmation of a positive Coronavirus case in neighbouring Telangana, the Karnataka Health and Family Welfare department has put four border districts — Bidar, Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Raichur — on high alert.
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