THE Uttar Pradesh Health Department has traced 162 people, across the country, who came into contact with Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor in Lucknow before she tested positive. Of them, more than 30 people have been tested so far and the results of all are negative, including MP Dushyant Singh, former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Uttar Pradesh Minister of Medical Health & Family Welfare Jai Pratap Singh.
All three were present at a party attended by Kapoor in Lucknow. Kapoor flew down from London on March 9 to Mumbai, arrived in Lucknow two days later and attended the March 15 party thrown by a nephew of former MP Akbar Ahmad Dumpy. She tested positive on March 20.
Authorities have also traced those who attended at least three other gatherings the singer attended after coming to Lucknow. The Taj Hotel in Lucknow where Kapoor stayed has been shut.
The discovery of Kapoor’s positive test sent ripples from Lucknow to Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, as Dushyant had attended House as well as a dinner hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind in the days after March 15. Several MPs announced on Friday that they were going into self-isolation.
On Saturday, Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja and BJP MPs Ravindra Shyamnarayan alias Ravi Kishan from Gorakhpur and Kamlesh Paswan from Bansgaon in Uttar Pradesh said they had attended the Rashtrapati Bhavan event and come in contact with Dushyant and were isolating themselves. Dumpy, who was present at the Lucknow party, has also gone into self-isolation.
Spokesperson of King George Medical University in Lucknow Dr Sudhir Singh said that apart from Minister Jai Pratap Singh, the samples of 28 people who came into contact with him had also tested negative.
With two new cases being discovered, in Noida and Moradabad, on Saturday, the total number of positive cases in Uttar Pradesh rose to 25. Nine have recovered. Both the new cases returned from Europe. “All samples collected from people who attended parties at Lucknow where Kapoor was present have tested negative. Till today, all positive cases in Uttar Pradesh are trackable to persons with history of foreign travel. There is no evidence of secondary transmission,” State Surveillance Officer Vikasendu Agarwal said.
He added, “By Friday evening, we were able to trace 68 (of Kapoor’s contacts) and now the number has reached 162. Other than a few family members, these include people who attended the parties she was in, or people from the shops and salons she went too. There are several politicians among them… We have collected names from party organisers also.” Agarwal said all 162 have been contacted.
He said while the number of contacts was a challenge, “the good thing is that all the persons present at the parties (where Kapoor was present) have been very supportive. They are the cream of Lucknow, people in the highest social strata… They are all following our quarantine instructions”.
He added that several among them are owners of establishments, who have shut these down and sent employees into quarantine, without pay cuts.
On Friday night, the Lucknow police registered an FIR against Kanika under sections dealing with disobedience to orders promulgated by a public servant, and acts likely to spread disease dangerous to life.
Among the MPs who met Dushyant after the Lucknow party were Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Mahendra Singh Pandey. In Uttar Pradesh, three MLAs who had met Minister Jai Pratap Singh are in self-isolation.
— with inputs from ENS, Chandigarh, Jaipur
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