Bengaluru: Fear gripped Karnataka a bit too late on Friday the Thirteenth as a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi became the first Covid-19 fatality in India and the virus started its spread among techies who work in a cloistered air-conditioned atmosphere making them more vulnerable.
Though the senior citizen had died on March 10, it was only late Thursday night that the results of his samples came in confirming that he was infected.
Soon after Karnataka got the dubious tag of recording the first Covid 19 death in India, the Yediyurappa government scrambled to announce a slew of measures including shuttering all revenue generating centres including malls, theatres, pubs and exhibitions across Karnataka for a week beginning Saturday.
This ban also applies to nightclubs, swimming pools, play areas, music festivals, club events, summer camps, sporting events, weddings, conferences, parties like birthdays and engagements. Dine-in restaurants will also be closed, and only home deliveries will be allowed. Colleges and universities too will shut down for a week.
Further, all Information Technology firm employees have been advised to work from home. The government is keeping a close watch on the IT offices as the virus can spread rampantly in a closed airconditioned atmosphere. The decision will be reviewed in a week, the Chief Minister told the media.
Kalburgi has been isolated and the city is under complete lockdown with tight travel restrictions. The move has stranded many students from across India who are at the Medical College pursuing their studies. Meanwhile, Google in India has confirmed that an employee at their Bengaluru office has tested positive for coronavirus.
"We can confirm that an employee from our Bangalore office has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They were in one of our Bangalore offices for a few hours before developing any symptoms. The employee has been on quarantine since then and we have asked colleagues who were in close contact with the employee to quarantine themselves and monitor their health, said Google India in a statement on Friday.
Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking employees in that Bangalore office to work from home tomorrow. We have taken and will continue to take all necessary precautionary measures, following the advice of public health officials, as we prioritize everyone's health and safety, the statement added.
In another development, two employees of tech giants Mindtree and Dell also tested positive for coronavirus. Karnataka has till now confirmed five other cases in the state. A Bengaluru Dell employee who returned from Austin in America via New York and Texas was the first person to be confirmed in the state. Later, his wife and 13-year-old daughter too were tested positive. Another techie who had travelled from US to Bengaluru via London, was tested positive next.
A 26-year old who had returned from Greece via Dubai to Mumbai was the fifth case. He had been to Greece on a honeymoon and returned to Mumbai in the first week of March. Later, he came to Bengaluru and worked for a day out of his office. The government is trying to trace all the people who came in contact with him.
Meanwhile, sources said the 76-year-old patient who died had arrived from Covid-hit Saudi Arabia on February 29. Though he had arrived from a Covid-19-affected country, his symptoms were misleading and tests for coronavirus were delayed due to old age-related complications such as breathing difficulty, asthma and hypertension.
His throat swab samples reached a Bengaluru lab only on March 11. Five days after his arrival, he developed complications and was admitted to a private hospital in Kalaburagi. Against medical advice, his family shifted him to a hospital in Hyderabad on March 9.
The next day he was brought back in an ambulance from Hyderabad. “He died on way to Kalaburagi, we don’t know when or where exactly,” an official said. All protocol related to the pandemic was followed during the man’s last rites on Wednesday afternoon in Kalaburagi, officials said.