Updated: April 13, 2020 12:02:29 pm
The number of locally transmitted Covid-19 cases have surpassed those linked to foreign returnees and their contacts for the first time in Karnataka after 33 cases with no foreign travel history were recorded since April 10.
As of April 12, the total number of cases linked to foreign returnees and their contacts stand at 98 while the cases that are considered domestic like the Tabligi Jamaat cluster and a Mysuru pharma firm cluster have hit 128 on Sunday.
Until April 9, according to data put out by the Karnataka Covid-19 war room analytics team, the number of foreign returnees and contacts who had tested positive for the virus was 96, while 95 persons who tested positive were considered “pure India” cases.
With the Tablighi Jamaat cluster reaching 50 cases, a cluster at a pharma firm in Mysuru reaching 36 cases, and 42 other cases with no known origin from contacts with foreign returnees, the category defined as “pure India” cases by the Karnataka Covid-19 war room data analytics has reached 128 as of Sunday April 12.
On Sunday, 17 new cases were reported in Karnataka including seven cases from the previously unaffected region of Vijayapura. The source of infection is yet to be ascertained by health officials.
While the coronavirus infection cases, which began emerging in Karnataka since March 8, were initially confined to those returning from Covid-19 affected countries and their contacts,these cases have now been over taken by the “pure Indian cases.”
With international flights coming to a halt on March 23 and over 35,000 foreign returnees moving out of their mandatory 14-day hospital isolation periods, the numbers of local cases are now seeing a spike compared to the imported cases.
As of April 12, Karnataka had detected 232 Covid-19 positive cases from 9251 samples tested for the virus. While the origin of infection has been identified in 222 cases, the origin of infection has not been identified in around 10 cases so far, according to official data.
There have been six deaths due to the coronavirus in the state: two of them fell ill after returning from Saudi Arabia, one was at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi in March, and the source of infection for three other deaths in the Bagalkot, Gadag and Kalaburagi region is still unknown.
According to daily data analysis carried out at the Karnataka government’s Covid-19 war room, as many as 26 foreign returnee infection cases in the state had UAE as their port of origin, eight from USA, seven from UK, six from Saudi Arabia, four each from Spain and Germany, three from Greece, two each from Brazil and France, and one each from Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Australia and Indonesia. The number of primary contacts — spouses, children, domestic workers — infected by these 67 returnees currently stands at 31.
One of the biggest clusters in the foreign returnee category is the one linked to a 51-year-old Bengaluru man who returned from the UK on March 14. His son, two domestic workers, one of the domestic workers husband and his friend, and a security guard at the home of the foreign returnee have been infected. All other foreign returnee clusters have been of smaller sizes ranging from two to three cases or no infections at all.
While the Tablighi Jamaat cluster with 50 infection cases (persons who attended the Delhi Markaz with foreign attendees in March and their contacts) out of 1100 samples tested is the biggest local cluster in Karnataka, the most mysterious one is the 36-member cluster linked to the pharma firm Jubilant Generics Ltd which is based in the Nanjangud region of Mysuru.
The pharma firm cluster makes up 10.4 percent of the cases in Karnataka at present, but the health officials are yet to establish the origin of the infections. The first case, P52, a 35-year-old employee in the quality assurance department of the firm, tested positive for the virus on March 26. Since then the number of persons in the Mysuru cluster has grown with five new cases reported on April 11 in the cluster.
While health officials initially suggested that the infection may have occurred through raw material or packaging for the raw material which was imported from China, they are now indicating that it may have spread during the workers’ interactions with foreigners who visited the firm or the Mysuru region around the time of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We have asked the NIV to study the packaging and raw material and provide a report,” the director of the Karnataka health and family welfare department Dr Om Prakash Patil said. Sources in the health department however said: “It is more or less established that the infections began after workers came in contact with a visitor from abroad.”
“Nothing on this is certain and everything is under study and all leads are being followed,” a senior Karnataka health official said. Health officials have poured through CCTV TV footage at the firm and have used the assistance of police to establish origin of the Mysuru Covid-19 cluster.
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