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Coronavirus: Health Workers Contact Parents of Bengaluru School Students 48 Hours after Classmate Tests Positive

Coronavirus: Health Workers Contact Parents of Bengaluru School Students 48 Hours after Classmate Tests Positive


Coronavirus: Health Workers Contact Parents of Bengaluru School Students 48 Hours after Classmate Tests Positive

Bengaluru: Over the past three days, Bengaluru has registered four positive cases of the coronavirus — two of them engineers and two family members of one affected techie.

Between them, these four patients have come in contact with a whopping 2,786 people and the way public safety protocols have kicked in leaves much room for doubt on if all is well.


Picture this: the father of a child studying in the same class as the affected 13-year-old, who tested positive for coronavirus, received a call from a health worker only on Wednesday morning. That is 48 hours after the positive test results came in.

The father was then asked whether his “baby” exhibited symptoms like cold or fever. Taken aback, he told the worker the student was no baby — that it was a teenager, the same as the class 8 student affected by coronavirus.

Once the health worker was informed there are no symptoms, she simply told the father that if any came up, they must call the generic helpline number 108.

Other parents from the class, as many as 28 of them, also received calls the same time. And very few were advised to home-quarantine themselves.

While the school remains closed, the affected child did go to school all of last week. And since this prestigious school in East Bengaluru believes in changing the seats of its students every two days, there is no way to trace who exactly was sitting next to the affected child over the last week.

“My husband’s office asked him to work from home. So we are all staying home. But many of us parents received a call today from the health official who asked if we and our baby are fine. That was it,” said a parent. “From the school we got some advisories, but from the health department this is it.”

Asked if other parents and classmates were voluntarily on home-quarantine like her, the parent said she was unsure.

“They said they are keeping children at home. But if they are going down to play, we don’t know,” she told CNN-News18.​

One of the teachers said they got a call only on Tuesday evening from a district health official asking why the school is still functioning. When informed that the school had closed on Monday, the health worker only told them to not reopen until further notice and that he would send them an email on this issue, perhaps with other precautions that should be taken. The teacher is yet to receive that email.

“Then they (health officials) took phone numbers of all the students and staff. They specifically wanted the numbers of children who sit close to the affected kid,” said the teacher. “But since we don’t have that as we keep changing their seating arrangement, we shared contacts of the full class.”

When the administrative staff was closing up after a round of sanitising the premises on Wednesday afternoon, a few officials landed at the school to give advisories on dos and don’ts.

“Quite a few parents got calls to check if their child had a cold. And if no, then they were told to inform the school and the helpline 108 if these symptoms are exhibited,” said a staff member.

The school has now advised the 28 students in the class in which the affected child was studying to have themselves screened at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases.

But when health officials were confronted at a press briefing, Dr Prakash Kumar, Joint Director Department of Health and Family Welfare, said all necessary measures with regard to the students were being adopted.

“As many as 1,865 students from the school have been contacted; they are tertiary contacts,” he said. “Of these, 28 classmates have been advised to be under home isolation. Since the school is closed, health officials will be checking up on them; if they start showing symptoms, they have to intimate us. Parents need not panic.”

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