Odisha man, who came back from Italy, is state’s first coronavirus patient

Updated on Mar 16, 2020 11:03 AM IST

The Odisha government has already announced the closure of all educational institutions, except for holding examinations, swimming pools, gyms and cinemas across the state till March 31 and advised reasonable restrictions on public functions after declaring Covid-19 as a state disaster.

A sand art piece by artist Manas Kumar Sahoo to create awareness regarding coronavirus, at Puri Golden Sea Beach, in Puri, Odisha.(Arabinda Mahapatra / HT Photo)
A sand art piece by artist Manas Kumar Sahoo to create awareness regarding coronavirus, at Puri Golden Sea Beach, in Puri, Odisha.(Arabinda Mahapatra / HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty

A 31-year-old Odisha man, who returned from Italy and later took a train from Delhi to Bhubaneswar reportedly to avoid scrutiny, has become the first coronavirus patient in the state, officials said.

Highlights

The man travelled to Bhubaneswar by the Rajdhani Express on March 11 and reached Bhubaneswar on March 12.

He showed signs of flu and had a mild cough on March 13 and went to a doctor.

He was prescribed some medicines but did not get better.

Dr Ajit Mohanty, director of public health, said the man who studied computer science in a Milan-based university had arrived in Delhi from Italy on March 6. The man also works part-time in an event management company.

“Though he tested negative during the screening process at the Delhi airport, he was put in home quarantine as he travelled from Italy. He was advised home isolation for 14 days,” Dr Mohanty said.

However, the man travelled to Bhubaneswar by the Rajdhani Express on March 12 and reached Bhubaneswar on March 13. From the railway station, he took an auto-rickshaw to his home.

On March 13, he showed signs of flu and had a mild cough and went to a doctor. He was prescribed some medicines but did not get better.

He then went to the Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar on March 14 morning where his blood and swab samples were collected and sent to the Regional Medical Research Centre in Bhubaneswar for confirmation of coronavirus.

The tests confirmed the presence of the virus.

However, the sister of the man alleged that the Capital Hospital officials gave conflicting reports about her brother.

“On March 13, my brother went to a doctor who prescribed a test which showed he was suffering from typhoid fever. We did not want to take any chance and took him to Capital Hospital on March 14. At the hospital, they took his swab sample,” she said.

“On March 15, my brother told me that the test reports of his swab samples have come negative. Late at night, he was told that his reports have come positive. How did the samples that tested negative a few hours earlier, tested positive?” she asked.

Also read: 2 more coronavirus suspects hospitalised in Odisha, CM calls for calm

The man has now been admitted to the Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, officials added.

They also said they have put the family of the infected man in-home quarantine as they are yet to show any signs of the infection.

“We have also sought the details of all the passengers who travelled with the youth in the coach of Rajdhani Express on March 12. We will advise them home quarantine,” said Dr Mohanty.

The Commissionerate Police in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack on Monday ordered all shopping malls to shut down to stop the spread of coronavirus till March 31.

All passengers getting down at Bhubaneswar railway station will be also be screened from Monday.

Action plan

Odisha government on Sunday came up with a six-month action plan to fight the global pandemic.

“This is not a fight of one week or four. The CM has asked us to remain alert for at least six months. With the support of the public, we will go ahead with the fight against Coronavirus,” Subroto Bagchi, the government’s COVID-19 spokesperson, said.

As part of the action plan, the government has constituted a high-level committee and chief minister Naveen Patnaik will directly monitor its functioning.

The government will provide the latest update on coronavirus at 4.30 pm every day.

Shutdowns

The Odisha government has already announced the closure of all educational institutions, except for holding examinations, swimming pools, gyms and cinemas across the state till March 31 and advised reasonable restrictions on public functions after declaring Covid-19 as a state disaster.

So far, 30 samples in Odisha have been tested for coronavirus of which one was found positive. Results of two swab samples are awaited.

The reports of two samples including that of a minor girl from Lithuania are awaited. The girl, who is on a tour to Puri with her family, was admitted to the isolation ward at Puri District Headquarters Hospital after she displayed flu-like symptoms.

Five people, who recently returned from Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the US to Sonepur, have been kept under home isolation.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had declared Covid-19 as a state disaster on March 13 and asked people to practice frequent hand washing and adopt strict sanitation protocols while advising them not to panic.

Top tourist and religious sites in Odisha, including the Sun Temple in Konark, Chilika lake and Shanti Stupa (peace pagoda) at Dhauli, have already been closed down for visitors as a precautionary measure.

Similar restrictions have been imposed at the Jagannath temple in Puri with temple priests wearing masks inside the premises while serving the three deities and maintaining a distance of at least two metres from devotees.

The priests have also been asked to wash their hands at regular interval. The devotees coming to Puri temple will have to furnish their personal and travel details in a form before entering into the Temple.

Similarly, a ban has also been imposed on all gatherings during Chaitra Parva at Tara Tarini shrine in Berhampur. The festival of Melana at Harirajpur village of Pipili in Puri district was also shut down on Monday.

Sarpanch of gram panchayats, ward members, corporators and councillors of urban bodies and office-bearers of resident welfare associations have been empowered to identify and refer suspected coronavirus cases to hospitals.

These officials will have to submit the details of all people in their area who travelled from abroad in the last 14 days to the block development officers or executive officers of respective municipalities.

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