Officials struggle to trace COVID positive BMTC conductor’s contacts

No data on BMTC commuters available; locating them through mobile tower not possible; people told to report themselves

Published: 13th June 2020 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th June 2020 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

A BBMP worker sanitises a bus stop on Ambedkar Veedhi Road, a day after a BMTC driver-cum-conductor tested positive, in Bengaluru on Friday | VInod Kumar T

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The health department and Covid-19 team officials in Karnataka have a near-impossible task of tracing the primary and secondary contacts of a Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) driver-cum-conductor, who tested positive on Thursday.

Unlike travellers on long-distance intercity/interstate buses, trains or flights, whose mobile numbers and personal data is gathered prior to travel, details of BMTC daily commuters are not recorded. After the BMTC employee — who was posted as a conductor on at least four routes — tested positive, officials are all at sea trying to trace his contacts, especially those who travelled in the bus.

Being a conductor, he was in close contact with commuters while issuing tickets and might have infected hundreds, officials said. Arundhathi Chandrashekar, in-charge of community surveillance, Covid-19 state committee, told The New Indian Express that the team will put out notifications through the media on the conductor’s bus numbers and timings. “To track a person using mobile towers, he has to be at one point for at least 15 minutes. But the bus is never stationary until it reaches a bus stop.

There is no way of tracking the contacts, unless people come forward themselves,” she said. BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar appealed to the people to report to the officials, saying it is their responsibility towards society. “There is no other way of tracking. There is no solution,” he said. 

BMTC sources said that the BMTC conductor worked from May 31 to June 3, and took leave from June 4 to 6 due to fever. As his sample was given to Bowring Hospital for testing, he continued to work from June 8 till June 11, when he was taken to Victoria Hospital after testing positive. 

He was on the SBS to KR Puram, Silk Board to Hebbal routes, among others. A native of Kalaburagi, he is said to have contracted the virus in Vijayapura, sources said. Highly-placed sources from the COVID-19 team said that they have given up tracing the contacts since the lockdown restrictions were relaxed. “We can only track some of the immediate contacts which the patient can recollect, but beyond that even we are helpless,” they added.


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