Hyderabad: At a time when some companies in Hyderabad's IT corridor had evacuated its employees, on account of one of its staffers being suspected of coronavirus, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Information Technology, Government of Telangana asked software employees and other stakeholders in Hyderabad not to succumb to COVID-19 induced panic and continue to function normally.
The Telangana IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan, on March 4, said around 22 employees of DSM who worked with the woman techie, who has been suspected of coronavirus, will be isolated at their homes and asked to work from there. “There was no need of vacating the whole building, but to avoid risks, the whole building was vacated," he said.
City’s IT hub Mindspace had evacuated employees after a suspected case of Coronavirus was reported in one of the companies in the IT park. Block B and Block C in Mindspace had further closed down for the day, after the alert. Reportedly, there are around 8,000 employees working for over 80-90 companies in Mindspace.
Stating that the case of the DSM employee is just a suspected case, and that she has not been tested positive, he further said, “The blood samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune. Tests in Hyderabad have shown that it's a borderline case. We can take further steps only after getting the results tomorrow morning."
He also added that quarantine and isolation has been done as a part of precautionary measures and there is nothing to panic. "There were doubts regarding the case so we took some precautions. The company, DSM, is located on the ninth floor of building number 20 at Mindspace where about 350 employees work. The woman worked in a group of 23 members. Those who directly worked with her will be isolated and will remain at their homes," said the government official.
"Rumours were rife that the entire Mindspace was evacuated. According to the government’s safety measures, in case of a suspected Corona virus case, any person who comes into contact with the possible patient should stay at home for the next few days. The area where the person worked is sanitised," he said.
"I will tell all the IT companies and associations to educate other employees. The mortality rate of the virus is 12 hours. The DSM employee may have visited some place in the last 12 hours and touched some object. Others, then, may have touched the same object. Eighty per cent people are not aware that they have come in contact with an affected person. I would request that if any situation arises, or any person is suspected of infection, they should be allowed to work from home," he added.
He said, "I appeal to the Cyberabad police to take responsibility and also spread the message that if something like this happens people should inform their employers that they will work from home and discuss it with officials. Only the 22 people who were in the DSM employee's group will work from home. Tomorrow things will go on as usual. The group will be under quarantine because there might be chances that they were in close contact with the female employee."
The IT secretary said wearing a mask can also be helpful. "Companies like Intel, Cognizant, and Wells Fargo have come forward to provide masks to the government. I hope many more companies come forward and do the needful," he said.
“Cybercrime officials are investigating who sent false messages about the woman testing positive for the virus," he said. IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan also said, “There was no need to evacuate the whole building but we did not want to take any risks," said Cyberabad commissioner VC Sajjanar.
He clarified that it is only a suspected Corona virus case and the employee has not tested positive yet. The building was evacuated for cleaning and the employees can go back to their offices from tomorrow, he said.
Nodal officer G. Srinivas Rao confirmed that only one case of Corona virus has been reported in Telangana while others are only suspected cases. He said, “There has been no local transmission of Corona virus yet in Telangana. The man who tested positive had visited Dubai recently for business where he met his Singapore colleagues. He was likely infected there," the nodal officer said.
He said people who were in close contact with him have been tracked down. “Within eight hours we tracked all the people associated with him and they have been kept under quarantine. More than 50 per cent of the samples have tested negative,” he said.
Out of 47 samples collected, two were borderline and have been sent to the National Virology centre in Pune. He assured that the condition of the infected man is stable and his close associates who are quarantined in Gandhi Hospital are also stable. He advised people to wash hands frequently and to maintain respiratory hygiene. He said that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is very less compared to other influenzas. He urged people not to believe in rumours.
(Image credits: Mindspace)