Karnataka

Pharma company case: A month on, source of infection remains mystery

The State government has ordered a probe into the spread of novel coronavirus from the pharmaceutical company in Nanjangud, which has led to Mysuru district’s emergence as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Senior IAS officer Harsh Gupta, who has been designated as the nodal officer for COVID-19 containment in Mysuru district, has been directed to probe not only the source of infection in Nanjangud and the cause of its spread among the people, but also inquire if the pharma company - Jubilant Generics Limited - or anybody else had any role in the matter.

Chief Secretary T.M. Vijaybhaskar, who issued orders on Friday to conduct the probe, has sought a report in a week’s time.

Though the State government has taken several measures against the spread of COVID-19, the pharmaceutical company has been identified by the government as one of the major reasons for Mysuru district becoming a COVID-19 hotspot.

The government’s order comes even as an inquiry underway by the Mysuru district police is yet to identify the source of infection.

It has been almost a month since the a 35-year-old employee of the pharmaceutical company first tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26. Subsequently, more than 70 persons connected to the company comprising its employees and their contacts had tested positive, taking the total number of cases from the district to 88.

The source of infection has remained a mystery so far as the travel history of none of the employees testing positive shows any overseas travel in the last six months.

Also, the samples of raw material, imported by the company from China, sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, had tested negative. Police investigations into a possible physical contact of the positive cases from pharmaceutical company with persons coming from abroad too had not yielded any breakthrough so far.

Against the 88 persons testing positive in Mysuru so far, there are 55 active cases at present. A total of 242 primary contacts of P-52 – the pharmaceutical company employee, who tested positive first – and 2,011 secondary contacts had been quarantined so far.

With tests for COVID-19 already conducted on more than 1,450 out of the 1,562 persons linked to the pharmaceutical company, Minister in charge of Mysuru district S.T. Somashekar during his recent visit was optimistic that the number of persons testing positive in Mysuru is unlikely to rise dramatically. Also, no fresh COVID-19 positive cases had been reported in Mysuru since April 23.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:02:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-orders-probe-into-spread-of-covid-19-from-nanjangud-pharma-company/article31431712.ece

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