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Jubilant Life Sciences refutes Karnataka minister’s claim that coronavirus positive employee travelled to China

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Jubilant Life Sciences refutes Karnataka minister’s claim that coronavirus positive employee travelled to China

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The curious case of the coronavirus cluster outbreak among the employees of pharmaceutical firm Jubilant Generics at its Mysuru pant took a fresh turn on Thursday, with the company refuting allegations by Karnataka state authorities that the state’s COVID-19 patient zero had travelled to China.

Jubilant Life Sciences refutes Karnataka minister’s claim that coronavirus positive employee travelled to China
The curious case of the coronavirus cluster outbreak among the employees of pharmaceutical firm Jubilant Generics at its Mysuru pant took a fresh turn on Thursday, with the company refuting allegations by Karnataka state authorities that the state’s COVID-19 patient zero had travelled to China.
Jubilant Generics is a subsidiary of Jubilant Life Sciences.
K Sudhakar, Karnataka minister in charge of COVID-19 response, had told some news channels on Thursday that that the patient zero, referred to as “Patient P52” in Karnataka’s list of positive cases, had travelled to China.
State authorities had been investigating how the health crisis had broken out at the pharmaceutical company, and had also sent samples received from China for testing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Nearly 50 employees of Jubilant Generics at its Myusru plant and their family members have tested positive for coronavirus so far.
Jubilant Life Sciences Limited said in a press statement that none of the employees who tested positive for the virus had an overseas travel history in the past six months, and added that the samples sent for testing had come out negative for the coronavirus.
”No traces of COVID-19 virus have been found in the imported raw material sampled from Nanjangud facility of its subsidiary – Jubilant Generics Limited. Raw material (imported from China) tested negative for COVID-19 virus by National Institute of Virology, Pune as announced by the authorities of Government of Karnataka,” the company said.
”Additionally, the company clarified that Patient P52 did not travel to China or on any overseas trip in the last six months. Further, none of the employees tested positive so far travelled overseas in the last six months,” the statement said.
Jubilant Generics also said that the patient P52 had no contact with any raw material nor had a “role in receiving, transporting, handling or storage of raw materials.”
Karnataka health secretary Pankaj Kumar Pandey said in a press conference on Thursday that so far tests for packaging material from the company sent for sampling have been negative, but said he will revert on the status of the samples of raw material.
Jubilant Generics is also facing a PIL in the Karnataka High Court alleging negligence on the part of the company for the outbreak of the virus.
The petitioner has claimed that the company received chemicals at its plant from China in March, which may have been the “root cause” of the outbreak. The PIL has called for an investigation by authorities into the matter and for action to be taken against the company.
Jubilant Generics Limited said that at its plant located at Nanjangud, Mysore, it manufactures Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs or bulk drugs) like Azithromycin Dihydrate and Azithromycin Monohydrate, which are needed in treatment for patients infected with COVID-19.
“Therefore, it was critical for the company to continue its operations in its efforts to help fight the global epidemic of COVID-19,” the company had earlier said.
The first positive case of an employee of Jubilant Generics was reported on March 26, and authorities have been investigating how the person contracted the virus.
Jubilant Generics said the employee had stopped coming to the plant after March 20.
“He did not attend office from March 21-26 till he was detected positive. He was put under medical supervision at a government hospital and the company has been getting information from the government authorities that he is recuperating well,” the company said.
However, cases soon started rising in the small temple-town of Nanjangud near Mysuru, mainly among the employees and their contacts. This prompted authorities to ask the over 1,000-member staff at the pharmaceutical company to be strictly home quarantined.
Authorities have also been investigating CCTV footage and company records regarding visitor details, travel history, material movement to identify the source of the outbreak.
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