Hyderabad: The private bus in which the first Covid-19 patient in Telangana travelled from Bengaluru to Hyderabad made multiple long-distance trips for a week from February 22, the morning which the 24-year-old arriv-ed in the city. Till March 2, the bus ran between Hyd-erabad and Pune, with over 20 passengers on each trip.
Health minister Etala Rajendar said it was wrong to assume that a person carrying the virus in a bus, train, or plane would spread it to others. “It is not airborne and spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes without covering his or her mouth,” the minister said. “If another person happens to touch the surface where the droplets falls and touches his mouth, eyes or nose, then the second person may possibly pick up the virus.”
A senior state health and family welfare official said that coronavirus is known to have survived on surfaces for up to 12 hours at normal room temperature. At temperatures regulated by air-conditioning to around 22-23 degrees C, the virus is known to have survived on surfaces from nine to 12 days.
The Covid-19 patient took the February 21 night service from Bengaluru in the AC sleeper coach operated by an SR Nagar-based private travels company. While the bus capacity is 32, on that trip there were 21 bookings.
The company was told of the patient testing positive on Monday at 5 pm. “We immediately shared with the state government all information about the passengers on the bus. It was also shared with the Karnataka government at its request,” Narendra Vallabhaneni, owner of the company, said.
“We contacted passengers via email and phone and informed them of the development and the government advice that all passengers should get themselves tested,” he said.
The bus driver and cleaner were also sent to Gandhi General Hospital and tested. Both tested negative.
“We inquired from passengers about their health and any symptoms such as fever, cold or cough. All said they felt fine and had no symptoms,” Vallabhaneni said....