Four more cases have emerged from Mysuru’s Nanjangud town on Wednesday, 1 April, taking the tally of COVID-19 affected people from the same pharma company to 16.
None of the employees of Jubilant Life Sciences have any travel history.
In total, 110 people have tested positive for COVID-19 so far in Karnataka, with three deaths and five recoveries.
District authorities have categorised Nanjangud as a cluster case and clamped down on non-essential movement. In total, there are 16 cases from Mysuru.
Mysuru district commissioner Abhiram G Shankar told The Quint, that the search was on for Patient Zero who brought the virus to the small industrial town, which is under total lockdown. He also said that samples from consignments the company had received have been sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune and Bengaluru.
The first COVID-19 case in Mysuru on 26 March was a 35-year-old man with no history of travel abroad or contact with any other coronavirus patient. Officials had then said that since he was an employee with the quality assurance section of a pharma firm, he had come in touch with several healthcare workers, but failed to establish a definitive link.
Following the first case that was reported last Thursday, 11 more employees have tested positive for coronavirus – five on Sunday, four on Monday and two on Tuesday.
The Medical Education minister said that there was doubt that the virus could have come from a person with international travel history or a parcel from China.
“There is no travel history. We are trying to find out the gel (imported by the company) that has come from China. I have requested ICMR to take up the investigation. The samples have been sent to Pune. We contacted many of his contacts, nobody has any primary contact with any COVID-19 positive person. There should be a traveller who got in touch with them or through a parcel.”Dr Sudhakar, Medical Education minister
Nanjangud Locked Down
A total lockdown has been enforced in Nanjangud town since the first set of five cases were reported. All activity has reportedly been suspended with only one entry and exit point open for essential and emergency services.
Mysuru district commissioner Abhiram G Shankar said that a three-kilometre buffer zone had been created within the town, and a huge influx of healthcare workers like ASHAs have been roped in to go door to door.
About 200-odd vehicles have been seized so far for violating lockdown and there has been heavy surveillance to ensure no movement.
According to a senior IAS officer with knowledge of developments around COVID-19 in the state, there are a set of protocol and SOPs that come into force once an area is identified as a hotspot, then a cluster.
“Depending on the nature of the cases and how scattered the cases are, a containment plan is put into place. An area of radius of 1,3,5-10 km is identified that needs to be completely isolated from the rest of the city. There has to be a huge influx of health workers, to do house to house verification, various orders like home quarantine, tracing of primary contacts in an intensive manner,” he said.
Growing Cases in Chikkaballapura
Another source of concern for the state health department is the number of cases in Chikkaballapura, where the count has touched eight, third in line behind Mysuru and Bengaluru Urban districts.
The first positive case was identified on 21 March while the second and the third cases were reported within the next three days. The trio had returned from Mecca. A special team has been constituted to control the situation in the district, senior health officials said.
“A group of pilgrims who came from Mecca had also gone to Andhra Pradesh. We are cross-referencing that list with our records. All primary contacts will be kept in hospital in quarantine for Chikkaballapura. If they are not high risk, we are quarantining them at home,” he said.