After chairing a high-level emergency meeting with officials and medical officers, Karnataka Health Minister B Sreeramulu briefed the media on the measures being taken by the state government to fight and curtail the novel Coronavirus. This meeting comes after a 25-year old software engineer who travelled from Bengaluru to Hyderabad tested positive for the same.
According to health officials, the engineer had travelled to Dubai recently where he interacted with several people from Hong Kong from whom he is suspected to have contacted the virus. He then returned to Bengaluru, worked and stayed in the city for over 24 hours before travelling to Hyderabad. He did not show any symptoms during his stay in Bengaluru, the officials said.
The software engineer who has tested positive was screened at the airport, but had tested negative. "We have screened the 23 people he travelled with on the bus to Hyderabad, his roommates at the apartment he stayed at and also residents of the 90 flats of his apartment. Many have been kept in isolation. We have reserved several wards both in private and govt hospitals as isolation wards," said Sreeramulu.
Speaking to the media, Sreeramulu said, ‘ I request the media to not spread panic and support the government. Such viruses are not new, earlier H1N1 had also affected our state. Media had supported us. We have taken all the required precautionary measures. We have carried tests on individuals travelling from affected areas’.
Speaking on the specific measure taken by the health department, Sreeramulu said, ‘295 samples collected so far of which 240 tested samples have been tested negative. We are awaiting 2 more results as of now. Two laboratories have been set up in the state capital; one in RGICS and another in Bangalore Medical College to carry out tests. All govt hospitals in Karnataka - 630 beds have been reserved for coronavirus suspected patients. 1600 private hospital beds are also reserved across the state. One Iranian national has been admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases. He has tested negative and is waiting to be discharged. 24-hour helpline 104 has been started’.
Elaborating on the tracking of all who came in touch with the software engineer, the health minister said, ‘The 25-year old had travelled to Dubai on February 16th. He left for Hyderabad from Bengaluru where he has tested positive. His roommates and others who came in contact with him are being screened. 92 flats in his apartment. All of them are being screened. 23 people travelled with him and they are being screened as well’.
‘Temperature is checked in the airport through thermal screening. Other symptoms like cold and cough are checked. But if he is in the incubation period he might not be displaying symptoms.
We received information about the techie yesterday. We are collecting a list of passengers when he travelled from Dubai, who travelled to Hyd and other people who stayed with him. 50-60% of the contacts retrieved and they are being reached out and screened’, Sreeramulu added.
25 people working in his company are screened and isolated in their residences. Also, 23 people who travelled with him from Karnataka are also being monitored.