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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Novel coronavirus outbreak: States raise alert, say no need to panic

Co-workers, apartment residents put on alert after Telangana techie working in Bengaluru tests positive.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: March 4, 2020 2:25:29 am
 Coronavirus, Coronavirus india, Coronavirus delhi, Coronavirus telangana, Coronavirus cases in india, coronavirus cases in delhi, coronavirus india, indian express Visitors wear protective masks at Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad on Tuesday. (PTI)

A roommate in Bengaluru who looked after an engineer from a global computer technology firm for a day, 25 work associates he had direct contact with on February 21, 23 co-passengers on a bus from Bengaluru to Hyderabad the same night, and residents of a Bengaluru apartment complex with 98 flats where the engineer lived have all been alerted to watch out for signs of upper respiratory infections after the 24-year-old engineer tested positive for coronavirus.

The 24-year-old tested positive in Hyderabad on Monday, 10 days after he travelled from Bengaluru with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection on the night of February 21. He had flown into Bengaluru from Dubai a day earlier.

Since they were informed on Monday evening about positive coronavirus test on the 24-year-old, state Health Department officials have tried to establish contact with as many people who came in direct contact with the patient — from his arrival on an Indigo flight from Dubai on February 20 to his travel by a private bus to Hyderabad on the night of February 21.

“All those who have interacted with the engineer who has tested positive have been screened. The apartment complex where he lives has 98 flats, and people are being screened, as are 23 people who travelled in the bus with him,’’ state Health Minister B Sreeramulu said on Tuesday following a meeting with Health officials.

The minister emphasised, “There has been only one positive case from Karnataka (so far). There should not be any panic over this.”

According to Karnataka Health Secretary Jawed Akhtar, the techie who tested positive for COVID-19 virus came in contact with around 25 employees on the only day he went to work after his return from an official visit to Dubai. The company, Akhtar said, has been asked to facilitate “home isolation’’ of staffers who may have interacted directly with the engineer on February 21.

A roommate of the patient is reported to have also notified the same company that he would work from home until medical tests certify he has not been infected, sources said.

Health Department officials said surveillance and testing activities had been conducted on Tuesday at the apartment complex. “There are no positive cases at present at the apartment complex,’’ an official said.

Notice displayed to spread awareness on coronavirus at a hospital. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

Health Department officials are also trying to track down 10 passengers who were in immediate vicinity of the engineer on the flight from Dubai. “We are trying to trace passengers who were on seats in front, behind and beside him,’’ a communicable diseases unit official said.

In an official statement, Indigo said four crew members who travelled on the Dubai-Bengaluru flight on February 20 are under home observation since March 2.

Health Department officials said the 24-year-old developed symptoms of coronavirus on his return, and had not shown symptoms at the airport screening on his return last month.

In Hyderabad, Telangana Health Minister E Rajender said family members of the virus-infected patient are doing fine, PTI reported from Hyderabad.

A man at a coronavirus help desk at the Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. (File)

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister A K K Srinivas, who handles the Health portfolio, said blood samples of 11 people were sent for examination in recent days to Pune. No one has tested positive. Referring to reports co-passengers from Andhra Pradesh travelled with the coronavirus-infected software professional from Bengaluru to Hyderabad, Srinivas said they are trying to get the details. “If any such passenger is found, we are ready to conduct necessary medical tests. A state-level call centre has been opened in Vijayawada for assistance and advice on COVID-19,” he said.

Jammu & Kashmir: UT admin steps up surveillance

Beefing up its surveillance in wake of the evolving coronavirus outbreak, the Jammu & Kashmir administration on Tuesday made it mandatory for all passengers arriving at Jammu and Srinagar airports to make self-declaration about their travel history to countries severely affected by the virus.

Spokesperson of the Union Territory administration Rohit Kansal said medical teams have been deployed at both airports.

Kerala: State braces for Round 2

The Kerala government on Tuesday decided to strengthen the vigil against the coronavirus outbreak.

Kerala reported three positive cases of coronavirus last month. At one point in the last month, Kerala had about 3,500 people under observation. On February 28, their number came down to 136. However, as the infection spread to 65 countries, the number of persons under observation in the state rose to 411. —ENS

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