A 22-year-old youth who studies in the UK became the second Calcuttan to test positive for Covid-19, the state government said on Friday.
The youth, a resident of a south Calcutta housing complex, had arrived in the city from the UK on March 13 without any symptoms, a Calcutta Municipal Corporation Official (CMC) said. He started running a temperature on Wednesday, a health department official said.
The youth, who health department officials said tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, has been sent to the isolation ward of the Infectious Diseases and Beleghata General Hospital.
The health department is also planning to talk to the doctor who first examined the youth after he had arrived in Calcutta.
Airport sources said the youth had flown in on an Air India flight from London to Delhi and from there flew to Calcutta on a different aircraft of the same airline.
The health department is trying to track down the passengers who were seated in the same row as him and in the three rows in front of and three rows behind him on both aircraft.
The responsibility of tracking all international passengers arriving in Calcutta has been entrusted with the CMC. “When the youth developed fever, he was advised medical attention and home quarantine,” a CMC official said.
“We are trying to find out whether he had stepped out of home and mixed with others.”
Residents of the south Calcutta neighbourhood where the youth’s father runs a sanitary ware store submitted a petition to the local police station demanding that the shop be closed.
A police officer said the residents alleged that they had seen the father and the son in the store after March 13. “They have demanded that the store be sanitised and fumigated. We have closed the store,” said the officer.
The youth shares the apartment with his parents and a younger sibling. Since returning home, he has also met his grandparents, aunt and uncle.
“Family members have been put in the quarantine facility on the New Town campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute. We are monitoring them around the clock. If anyone develops any symptom, we will take further measures,” a health department official said.
A CMC official said the youth had first visited a doctor in Puddapukur after running fever. The doctor advised him to visit the infectious diseases hospital in Beleghata since he had visited the United Kingdom, which has been hit by Covid-19. “He went to the Beleghata hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday but doctors asked him to stay in home quarantine,” the official said.
Subsequently, the youth came to know that two of his friends — from Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh — who were with him in the UK had tested positive for Covid-19.
“The youth went back to the Beleghata hospital and told doctors that his friends had tested positive. The doctors then admitted him and collected samples from him,” the CMC official said.
Another CMC official said they were getting in touch with the people the youth and his family members came in contact with over the past few days. “If it is found out that the youth and his family members had come in contact with several people, we have to track them down and ask them to stay in home quarantine for at least 14 days,” an official said earlier in the day.
A public health professional said home quarantine meant that the person would stay in one room and not come in physical contact with any one. Only one family member, wearing gloves and a face mask, should deliver food and other essentials to the quarantined person, who, too, has to wear a face mask.
Last Tuesday, a 18-year old student form the UK had tested positive for Covid-19.
Since Thursday night till Friday evening, nearly 650 international passengers arriving at Calcutta airport were sent to the two quarantine centres in New Town.
Airport and state health department officials said these passengers had come from the UAE, Doha and Bangkok. Ten passengers from Bangkok had travelled to South Korea, said sources.