New COVID-19 cluster in Bengaluru: 34 nursing students infected

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As many as 34 nursing students of a private nursing college at Horamavu have tested positive for COVID-19, making it one of the biggest clusters in Bengaluru.

While all those who have tested positive have been admitted to the HAL COVID-19 Care Centre (CCC) and are said to be stable, other students have been placed under institutional quarantine.

The 22 girls and 12 boys, who tested positive, have some travel history, with most of them coming from neighbouring Kerala and some from West Bengal. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials told The Hindu that epidemiologists have identified multiple sources of infection, and that it could not be on account of their travel history alone.

The students entered Bengaluru with a RT-PCR negative report on August 5, officials said. “However, after coming to the city, they visited shops in the neighbourhood and also ordered food through delivery apps. This is why we have stated that the source of infection could be from multiple sources,” officials said.

Zonal epidemiologist of Mahadevapura said that the college management informed the civic body after three students staying in the same room in the girls’ hostel developed symptoms. Initially, 10 students tested positive on August 28, following which they were shifted to the HAL CCC. On August 29, the BBMP took up testing of primary and secondary contacts, including teachers and housekeeping staff, and residents of the adjacent apartment.

On August 30, 12 more students tested positive. On August 31, the civic body took up testing of all residents of the boys’ hostel, and another building within the campus. Another 12 students tested positive, taking the total number of infected persons to 34.

An epidemiologist said that samples have been collected and sent for genome sequencing. “The students who have tested positive are partially vaccinated. They do not have any major symptoms and are recovering in the CCC. The other nursing students, who are under institutional quarantine, have been asked to monitor their health and immediately report in case they develop any symptom,” the epidemiologist said.

The college and hostel buildings have been sealed. The management has told the remaining students not to come to the college. Offline classes have been suspended and online classes have resumed. The local police station has been informed about the containment zone, which has now been barricaded, said civic officials.

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