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Nanjangud ‘Cluster’ grows; 14 pharma company employees infected, 5 who came in contact test +ve

Mysuru: The ‘cluster’ of Covid-19 cases with its epicentre at a pharmaceutical company in Nanjangud is only growing wider, with two more employees of the firm, and three who came in contact with an infected employees of the company, testing positive for novel coronavirus on Wednesday. Consequently, the tally in Mysuru has jumped to 19, and the sudden spurt in cases has earned the district a place on the list of Covid-19 hotspots in India.

Of the 19 infected patients reported in Mysuru district, 14 are employees of Jubilant Life Sciences, the pharmaceutical company in Nanjangud, in addition to the infected patient from Bengaluru who contracted it from one of the workers. While the two employees of the pharmaceutical company are respectively 34 and 27 years old, the three others who have tested positive include the wife of the first worker who tested positive, while one is a 63-year-old man who has also been in contact with an infected employee and the last one being a Bengaluru-based 33-year-old man who was known to have been in touch with the 27-year-old employee of Jubilant Life Sciences. At the moment, a Mysuru laboratory is examining the samples of more than 100 individuals, while the number of those quarantined at home in Nanjangud alone jumped to 761 on Wednesday.

Officials in the district administration said that they had identified as many as 1,458 people associated with Jubilant Life Sciences in one way or the other, and had ensured that all of them were quarantined at home.

Accompanied by Mysuru deputy commissioner Abhiram G Sankar and superintendent of police CB Rishyanth, district in-charge minister V Somanna on Wednesday paid a visit to what is being referred to as ‘Ground Zero’ of the infection. Although Somanna wished to look inside the company itself, the officials advised him against it. The minister later inspected the arrangements made by the officials to tackle the medical emergency.

Mysuru district health officer Dr R Venkatesh, meanwhile, expressed confidence of containing the spread of the infection in Mysuru. He attributed Mysuru’s entry to the national hostspot list to the ‘cluster case’ in Nanjangud. “Barring Nanjangud, the situation is under control in the district,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Dasoha Bhavan associated with the famous Sri Srikanteshwara temple in Nanjangud is now being used to cook meals for, not only the needy, but also to those households, the members of which are in quarantine. Officials in the district health department have tasked ASHA workers with the responsibility of monitoring those isolated at home, and directed their subordinates not to entrust the job to nurses.

The Karnataka government has sought the assistance of the Indian Council of Medical Research to help trace the entry of the virus to Nanjangud. There is a suspicion that the virus may have entered the temple town on a parcel from China.

Mysuru Lok Sabha MP Pratap Simha endorsed DHO Dr Venkatesh’s observations, and said that, exclusive of the Nanjangud ‘cluster case’, the district administration had successfully contained the spread of the infection. “The employees of the pharmaceutical company and those that they have been in contact with is the biggest challenge in front of us now. But we have ensured that all employees, and their primary contacts, are quarantined at home. We are hoping to contain the spread,” said Simha.

Two of the infected employees of Jubilant Life Sciences had reportedly been to Dubai recently, a source said.

Abhiram Sankar sought to allay fears of Covid-19 infection having reached ‘community transmission’ in Mysuru district, pointing out that that 19 of the positive cases reported in the district were either employees or those who had come in direct contact with those working at Jubilant Life Sciences. “In view of the rising number of positive cases in the district, we have rented rooms in hotels, ones that have attached bathrooms in Mysuru and Nanjangud to house primary contacts of the infected patients. I appeal to those who have been in direct contact with infected patients not to resist being placed in quarantine facilities,” said Sankar, adding that some residents who were shifted on Tuesday evening not been very happy with moving to a quarantine facility.


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