Ballari: A person from Salem in Tamil Nadu has turned out to be a superspreader of the coronavirus in the Jindal South West Steel Limited steel plant at Torangallu in Ballari district of Karnataka. After he tested positive for COVID-19, the infection passed on to a colleague and then to 90 others in Torangallu.
The Salem man went to his native place in Tamil Nadu, which stands second in the national table of coronavirus infections, and returned to Torangallu on May 27. He worked at the JSW steel company till June 1 before he developed symptoms of fever. When tested, he was found to have been suffering from COVID-19 and from him, sources said, the virus spread to one of his colleagues, who is from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. The Kurnool man transmitted the disease to his family members.
After the COVID-19 spread in the vicinity of the steel plant, officials concerned sealed down about 30 areas in Torangallu region as a precautionary measure to contain the disease from spreading to other areas.
According to sources, around 30,000 people work as labourers in JSW. Many of them are daily-wagers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh who have returned to their native places. Only permanent employees have been working in JSW Company at the moment, stated a source to Deccan Chronicle.
Sources add JSW claims to have put in place necessary measures and sanitized the entire plant. However, questions have been raised over following social distancing, wearing face masks, thermal testing, hand sanitizers, among others.
Meanwhile, a letter from the deputy commissioner of Ballari, S. Nakul, on Thursday stated that the company minimized its workforce from June 12 to June 16 to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. Employees commuting from Ballari, Sandur, Hosapete and surrounding villages have been asked to stay at home till June 16.
JSW assures the DC that all employees who are staying at home will be thoroughly screened before joining the duty. To deal with any eventuality, 110-bed has been kept ready at Jindal Sanjeevani Multi-Speciality Hospital and the JSW personnel have been in constant touch with the village committees to take care of health related requirements in surrounding villages.