Karnataka

Minister claims pharma firm case linked to employee’s Chinese contact

Nanjangud-based Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd. on Thursday said none of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 so far had travelled overseas in the last six months. Special Arrangement
Tanu Kulkarni Bengaluru/Mysuru 16 April 2020 16:28 IST
Updated: 17 April 2020 11:09 IST

Mysuru police, however, say they are yet to establish the source of infection

A day after the police disclosed that samples of raw material drawn from the pharmaceutical company in Nanjangud, near Mysuru, had tested negative for novel coronavirus, the Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar claimed that the investigations into the source of infection were pointing to an employee’s contacts with a Chinese person.

The police authorities in Mysuru, however, maintained that the source of infection was yet to be established.

Dr. Sudhakar told The Hindu that patient-52, who was the first employee of the company to be tested positive, had come in contact with a Chinese person from whom it is suspected that he contracted the virus. “The Home Department’s investigation reveals that he was in contact with a Chinese person. We are relieved to know the source and will intensify our contact tracing efforts,” he said.

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The number of persons linked to the pharmaceutical company in Nanjangud testing positive for COVID-19 has now touched 49, including the three who tested positive on Thursday, leading to Mysuru emerging as one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the State.

Superintendent of Police of Mysuru district C.B. Ryshyant, however, said that police investigations were yet to identify the source of infection among the employees of the company.

While denying that P-52 had travelled to either China or any place outside India, Mr. Ryshyant said the company had shared the travel history of its employees as per the requirements of the investigation into the source of infection. “We don’t see this person having travelled to any place outside India,” he said. Mr. Ryshyant said the police investigations were covering all possible angles.

P-52, who had recovered earlier this month and was quarantined at home, had given his statement to the police. He was cooperating with the police investigation. “As of now, we have not been able to identify the source of infection and will share it whenever we do so,” Mr. Ryshyant said.

On Wednesday, while speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Additional Director-General of Police Parashivamurthy had said that the raw materials the pharmaceutical company had imported from China had tested negative for the virus. The samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

Meanwhile, the company too has sought clarify that none of its employees, who had tested positive so far, had travelled overseas in the last six months.

In a statement on Thursday, the company — Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd. — said, “Patient-52 did not travel to China or (made) any overseas trip in the last six months. Further, none of the employees tested positive so far travelled overseas in the last six months.” It said, “It was unfortunate that a wrong perception was created in public and the media about the raw material imported from China.”

The company said patient-52, in any case, never had any contact with the raw material nor had a role in receiving, transporting, handling or storage of the material.

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