‘Private firm behind many cases in U.P. district’

Police check a vehicle on the sealed Delhi-U.P. border.

Police check a vehicle on the sealed Delhi-U.P. border.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Administration plans a door-to-door awareness, information gathering campaign

The main reason for the spread of COVID-19 in Gautam Buddha Nagar, a hotspot for the virus in Uttar Pradesh, is a private fire safety company, which is directly or indirectly responsible for at least 39 out of 58 cases, officials said on Monday.

No fresh case was reported in Noida or Greater Noida for a second day in a row on Monday, with the administration now planning a door-to-door awareness and information gathering campaign

The company has 162 employees out of which 83 live in Uttar Pradesh.

Apart from spreading the virus to neighbouring districts, the company is also being held responsible for taking the infection to villages adjoining the urban areas of Greater Noida and at least one of the slums in Noida.

Nine people, directly or indirectly connected to the firm, living in rural areas have tested positive for COVID-19 while four have tested positive in a slum cluster in Sector 5.

The domestic help of an employee of the firm lives in the slum and she infected three of her family members, said officials.

The source of the infection was an auditor from the U.K. who stayed in Noida from March 14-16 and met a number of officials of the company, stated the Health Department.

Later, it was discovered that the managing director of the firm also returned from the U.K. on March 1 and took a long time to get tested as he was asymptomatic. Later, he tested positive for the virus.

Source of infection

Health officials, however, referred to the British auditor as the primary source of the infection, describing him as a carrier.

U.P. Chief Minister Adityanath transferred the District Magistrate and incumbent DM Suhas L.Y. and sealed the firm on March 31. The Health Department registered an FIR against the company for hiding information under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

A senior police officer who is closely monitoring the situation told The Hindu: “All 162 employees were asked to go into self-quarantine after one person tested positive. But the nature of the disease is such that some people remain carriers without showing symptoms. So far, the cases are mostly limited to families... In at least two cases, the employee tested negative but had passed the infection on to his family.”

“We are in touch with other States... around 2,000 people have been quarantined due to the company,” he added.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:18:07 PM |

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