Most quarantined in Karnataka flouted norms, put community at big risk

BENGALURU: Most of the people who were advised self-quarantine by the Karnataka government flouted rules, an ET analysis of the travel path flow chart of the first 15 Covid-19 infected patients in the state shows.

This has happened despite a state government advisory asking all those who had returned from abroad to self-isolate at their homes for two weeks.

Except for three people, all the others stepped out of their homes, met people, went to cinema halls, offices, indulged in recreational activities among other things.

One of the patients — among the first few to be diagnosed — went to a restaurant for dinner, watched a movie, made a pit-stop at the office, and went to the supermarket for shopping.

One patient even played tennis with random people in a court for three consecutive days. Another person who returned from Dubai travelled by bus to his hometown, visited relatives, drove around town and even went to a place of worship.

The 76-year-old man who returned from Dubai to Kalaburagi and later succumbed to the infection met several people at his residence on arrival and kept meeting his close family members even as he was unwell and showed symptoms.

In the process, he transmitted the infection to his daughter and to the general physician who initially treated him.

Another patient in Bengaluru who returned from Spain and later developed symptoms refused to visit the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases for two days despite insistence by health officials. It was only after the symptoms aggravated that he agreed to visit the hospital.

Health officials said although they had intimated as many primary and secondary contacts of infected patients as possible, it was going to be a challenge going forward.

“Initially, contact-tracing was slightly easy as the number of cases was limited. But now with the growing number of cases, contact-tracing is going to be hard. The best method is for people who have returned from overseas to self-quarantine,” a senior health official said.

On Monday, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao said in a tweet that many people were calling him to inform that people with self-quarantine stamps on their hands were using public transport or having food at restaurants.

Unlike neighbouring Kerala, Karnataka has not yet put the flowcharts of travel paths of Covid-19 positive cases in the public domain, but health officials said they were developing a mobile application to map all places that patients have visited.

“We are putting together the history of spots that patients have visited. We are not exposing the identity of patients, but only reaching out with spots the person has visited,” a senior official who is aware of the developments said. Any person who downloads the application can tap the location and it will reflect the date and time of the patient’s visit to that location.

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