BHUBANESWAR: Two jawans of the Balasore-based Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE), a laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), tested positive for Covid-19 spreading panic among the defence personnel at the country’s biggest ammunition test range.
Sources said the jawans of the military wing of the PXE were diagnosed during health check-up at the Command Hospital, Kolkata on Sunday. The two have been admitted in the hospital and three others who accompanied them kept in isolation.
“The two were asymptomatic till testing positive. They were detected after one of the injured jawan was taken to the hospital for treatment. He was hurt after he slipped,” the sources said.
The PXE authorities had no clue how the two employees got infected. “They were in the military camp for the last more than four months and there is no recent arrival from outside the State. Their contact tracing is on to ascertain the source of infection,” said Director DK Joshi.
Chief district medical and public health officer Dr Banarjee Prasad Chhotray along with a team of health officials visited the PXE premises for contract tracing and isolation of contacts.
All employees of the test range were asked to work from home on Monday and the premises has been sanitised. “Other employees who had come in contact with the jawans have been quarantined. The laboratory will function as usual from Tuesday,” said additional director HS Panda.
Eight jawans of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), another unit of DRDO from where all sophisticated missiles are test launched, were also quarantined as they had been to the PXE camp recently.
“A station coordination meeting with all heads of departments will be convened on Tuesday to access the situation and initiate measures accordingly,” ITR director BK Das informed TNIE.So far, Balasore has reported 190 positive cases of which 39 are active now.