Punjab Health Department went into a tizzy Sunday after 14 state health officials, including at least two doctors, posted in Ropar district tested positive for novel coronavirus. Ropar Deputy Commissioner Sonali Giri said six health officials out of 14 posted in the district, including two doctors, belonged to Ropar district and remaining hailed from outside.
A functionary of the Health Department said of the eight positive health officials from outside Ropar district, seven are from Mohali and one is from Chandigarh.
An official said an exercise was underway to ascertain where exactly the health officials were posted in the district. Ropar SMO was among the two doctors from district who tested positive. Speaking over phone, the SMO said that he has been isolated. Ropar DC Giri said that in all 46 persons tested positive in the district on Sunday, including those hailing from places outside the district.
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the health officials who tested positive were “asymptomatic”. He added that apart from doctors, the officials testing positive were paramedical staff.
Sidhu said contact tracing was on and samples of those who came in their touch with these patients were also being taken. As per media bulletin released by the state government, Punjab reported 61 new cases of novel coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total tally to 1,823. Punjab has so far reported 31 COVID-19 deaths.
Of 1,823 testing positive, more than 1,200 are pilgrims who returned from Nanded, accounting for around 67 per cent of the total positive cases in the state. There are 1,626 active cases and 166 patients have recovered in the state so far. Out of total 40,962 samples, 35,293 have tested negative and results of 3845 are awaited.
In Amritsar, a prisoner lodged in Amritsar Central brought on production warrant by Amritsar Rural police tested positive for novel coronavirus. He came in contact with prisoners at jail and with the police officials, who questioned him during the police remand. The prisoner was produced twice in court on May 6 and May 8.
Amritsar Chief Judicial Magistrate Baljinder Singh has written a letter to Amritsar Deputy Commissioner for the testing of judge, staff and police official, who were dealing with the prisoner. Amritsar police, meanwhile, wants re-testing of the prisoner as officials feel that he had no travel history and source of infection was not known.
“Prisoner was brought on remand and, according to the instructions he was tested for COVID-19 before sending him back to jail. He is asymptomatic, but positive. So now, he has been admitted at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. But we want to go for retesting because he had no travel history and source of infection is not known,” said Chatiwind SHO Suhail Qasim. An officials at Amritsar jail said, “We don’t think he got infection from jail. He was on police remand and possibly got infection during that period.
We have been taking all the precautionary measures inside the jail.” In the state, maximum positive cases of novel coronavirus have been reported from Amritsar district (295), followed by Jalandhar (175) and Tarn Taran (157)