Karnataka High Court: PIL filed against Pharma Company allegedly responsible for Community Spread of COVID-19

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A PIL has been filed in the Karnataka High Court against a Pharma company after employees of the company’s plant in Mysore district tested positive for COVID-19. Around 27 people have been contracted the virus, including employees of Jubilant Generics Limited and their contacts, while none of them has a travel or contact history.

Jubilant Generics manufactures essential medicines and drugs such as Azithromycin dihydrate and Azithromycin Monohydrate, which used for treating bacterial infections such as respiratory infections. Jubilant Bhartia Group is the parent company of the firm.

On March 26, an employee of the Pharma Company tested positive for novel coronavirus pandemic. He did not have any travel history nor was he a secondary contact. Soon after more than 20 people, who were either employees or their relatives, tested positive. This number was 27 as of April 6.

This is one of the first community spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state. Therefore, the petitioner asserts that the plant shut down and over 1,000 employees are under quarantine.  The petitioner in the current petition is GR Mohan, a resident of Bangalore.

It has been suspected that the raw materials imported by the company from China could have been a source of the virus.

“There is pressure to resume operations of the company. That cannot be allowed until the investigation is completed. The company has been negligent,”

said Harshavardhan, MLA of Nanjangud

The company has breached trust and has been negligent. Raw materials imported from China that could have led to the spreading of the virus. While the employees may not have known about the pandemic, the management would have been aware,” said Geetha Mishra, advocate for petitioner GR Mohan.

All the raw material sampled under the query has taken more than three weeks to reach the plant by sea route. Further about the query that this raw material has come under cold chain is also not correct. The raw materials have all come under normal containers with no cold chain and thus facing high temperature,” the company said.

“As all public evidence referred above indicates that the virus cannot survive for more than 72 hours on any surface. It would be premature for any conclusions to be made on the role of raw material in the spread of the virus.”

~Jubilant added

Mysore District Health Officer Dr R Venkatesh said all possible causes of the outbreak was being investigated, including import of chemicals from China, and visits by foreign delegates to the campus. CCTV footage, company records regarding visitor details, travel history, material movement are being probed.

According to the petition, there has been careless handling of situations by the owner of the company, which has led to spread of the virus to various parts of Mysore district and other parts of the State of Karnataka. The petitioner has also brought this to the notice of Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka and Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Rural and Mysore. The application is to be taken up for hearing on April 13.


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