As many as 12 employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the public sector defence company in Bengaluru have tested positive for the novel coronavirus so far. According to HAL’s official statement, one employee, who had comorbidities, died. The 12 employees tested positive between June 1 and July 7. However, HAL did not confirm the date on which one of the employees passed away.
“The 45-year-old employee had underlying health conditions and was admitted to the HAL Hospital. He was tested positive after an autopsy was performed and samples were sent for testing,” HAL spokesperson Gopal Sutar said, while adding, “HAL is taking all steps to ensure all protocols related to COVID 19 are followed as per updated MHA guidelines. After the autopsy was performed on the employee who died, they tested positive.”
He also said that the HAL Hospital is well equipped with beds that have been reserved for patients showing COVID-19 symptoms.
“At work places, measures are taken to ensure social (physical) distancing, compulsory wearing of masks, complete and frequent sanitisation of entire working areas, temperature monitoring of everyone who enters,” he added.
HAL had shut its facilities when the lockdown was imposed on March 22. It reopened on April 28, after the government declared it an essential service.
“We work in staggered shifts, have suspended biometric attendance and sanitization of all work areas in between and during the shifts are done frequently. HAL has introduced an IT platform for agile video conferencing and online applications (e-filing) to minimise the physical interaction as well,” HAL said in a statement. However, HAL did not divulge details about how many primary and secondary contacts of these employees were quarantined.
“BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) handles contact tracing and they have not shared that information with HAL,” sources said.
According to BBMP Health officer for East Division, Dr Siddappaji, ward number 87 or the HAL Airport has around 40 cases of COVID-19. He also said that contact tracing is taking time as the number of positive cases shot up drastically over the last couple of weeks.
Apart from the HAL employees, police personnel at the HAL Police Station also tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday evening. An inspector, one sub inspector, four head constables, a woman constable and seven staffers at the HAL Police Station tested positive. The police station was sealed down and sanitisation is underway.
The last arrest was made on June 15 by the HAL police and the accused had tested negative.