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Yelahanka Covid clusters reveal shaky border control, low vigilance at educational institutions

Karnataka govt heightens vigilance
Last Updated : 27 February 2021, 21:14 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2021, 21:14 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2021, 21:14 IST
Last Updated : 27 February 2021, 21:14 IST

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The emergence of three clusters in the Yelahanka Zone with 33 cases, triggered by the travel of at least three individuals from Kerala and Maharashtra, has highlighted shaky border control and low vigilance at educational institutions.

BBMP officials said that at least one of the three individuals responsible for the clusters did not have the requisite negative RT-PCR certificates before entering the state.

“It appears they were not properly screened when crossing into the state,” said one health official in the BBMP.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said the onus is on the educational institutions.

“We cannot stop these cases at the border alone, so it is the educational institutions that have to ensure their students have the necessary negative certificate. If they do not have the certificate, the student has to go into quarantine, that is the procedure,” he said.

In these two instances, at least one individual, a student of Agraghami College, had returned from Kerala, only to infect five roommates. Two additional roommates were also among the primary infected.

Hostel ground zero

In the second cluster, a 20-year-old male student of Sambhram Academy of Management Studies (SAMS) had returned from Kolar last week to trigger an outbreak at the college and at the Inspire Livesuit paying guest accommodation where 67 students live in close proximity.

The PG, which is managed by Sambhram, is now ground zero for new cases.

Yelahanka zonal officials disclosed that eight cases had been found among SAMS students there on Saturday. “Test results for 49 students from the PG are expected on Sunday at the latest,” an official said.

Negative RT-PCR certificate no guarantee

The state government said it has heightened vigilance in the wake of the new cases.

Dr Thrilok Chandra, Commissioner (Health), said ticket collectors and bus conductors will actively screen train and bus passengers for negative certificates.

“With respect to people coming in their personal cars, I have confirmation today that many people have been turned back at the Maharashtra and Kerala borders for not having test results,” Dr Chandra said. He, however, added that some people may have gotten through because the initial numbers of interstate travellers were huge.

But there is also the matter of negative RT-PCR certificates not being a guarantee that the person is uninfected.

In the case of a 62-year-old man who recently returned to Bengaluru from Mumbai, BBMP officials said he had an RT-PCR negative certificate upon entry.

“Now, he is positive. When he sought to return to Mumbai a week later, a mandatory RT-PCR test found him positive,” a BBMP official said. This resulted in five more people in the same household being infected.

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Published 27 February 2021, 20:53 IST

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