Lucknow: “Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor partied for four days in Lucknow-Kanpur. She even attended a Holi celebration. She went for a house warming ceremony in Kanpur,” are some of the common messages on WhatsApp newsgroups which kept pouring till late last night.
Kanika was tested positive with COVID-19 yesterday i.e. March 20, and late last night, an FIR under sections 188, 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was lodged against her at the Sarojini Nagar police station in Lucknow on the complaint of district’s chief medical officer.
The singer and her entire family were taken for isolation by the Health Department workers from her Shalimar Gallant apartments yesterday.
With the singer attending multiple events in the city before being tested positive, a large chunk of population are now at the risk of community transmission of the highly infectious COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus Disease-19). Even though the Health Department has disinfected the entire Gallant apartments where she resides, but it was too late to contain the panic that gripped the city after the news of her positive test spread like wildfire.
Also read: Covid-19 Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to all Societies
According to Lucknow Police Commissioner, Kanika arrived at Lucknow on March 11, following which she attended a number of high-profile events which were attended by several political heavyweights like former Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje, her son Dushyant Singh, Congress leader Jitin Prasad, former Bahujan Samaj Party MP Ahmed Akbad Dampi, as well as several top bureaucrats and city bigwigs. Meanwhile, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has asked the district magistrate of Kanpur and Lucknow to identify all the people who had attended the parties with the singer of Baby Doll fame in the next 24 hours and the deadline for this task ends tonight.
The Bollywood singer took to social media website, Instagram, to confirm the news of her testing positive with COVID-19. “For the past 4 days I have had signs of the flu, I got myself tested and it came positive for Covid-19. My family and I are in complete quarantine now and following medical advice on how to move forward. Contact mapping of people I have been in touch with is underway as well,” she wrote.
She added in the same post, “I was scanned at the airport as per normal procedure 10 days ago when I came back home, the symptoms have developed only 4 days ago. At this stage I would like to urge you all to practice self isolation and get tested if you have the signs. I am feeling ok, like a normal flu and a mild fever, however, we need to be sensible citizens at this time and think of all around us. We can get through this without panic only if we listen to the experts and our local, state and central government directives. Wishing everyone good health. Jai Hind ! Take care, KK.”
The Lucknow airport in a statement said, “As per information available with us: 1) Passenger has travelled from London to Mumbai by Air India flight AI130 on 10th march There is no direct flight from London to Lucknow. It is expected that as per GOI orders screening would have been done at Mumbai-No comments of Lucknow Airport on this. 2)As per directives, Passenger screening is being done for international flights only.”
Also read: COVID-19 Scare to Dampen Ram Navami in Uttar Pradesh
Dr Santosh Kumar, one of the doctors who is looking at the infected patients at the King George Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow, said that this is a case of irresponsible behaviour.
“People are being advised by the government to self isolate or quarantine for at least 14 days if they have returned from a foreign country but in this case it was not followed. The people did not leave any stone unturned to meet more and more people. I am not saying that the person did it intentionally but this has put a lot of people at risk of getting the virus and has also increased the community transmission threat,” he said.
Another doctor, who requested anonymity, said, “Privileged people are behaving most irresponsibly. Those in isolation at the hospital are irritating the doctors, abusing them without even thinking that we doctors have put our lives in danger to cure them.”
Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash has ordered all food joints, restaurants, dhabas and cafes in Lucknow to close shop till March 31. On the night of March 20, the DM also ordered temporary closure of Taj Hotel as Kanika had briefly stayed there, confirmed the Taj Hotel in an official statement released by them.
A close relative of the singer confirmed that she had attended back-to-back parties from March 13 to 15, and also stayed at the Taj hotel from March 14 to 16.
The Health Department quickly prepared a list of people who had attended the parties, including the minister, bureaucrats, police officers and industrialists. “We have a primary list of over 20 people who came in close contact with her. It may be expanded further. The total number of people who came in contact with the singer is about 70,” said Director General of Medical Health Dr Rukesh Singh.
“We are first tracking those who came in direct contact with Kanika. If any of those (the direct contacts) test positive, we will also track their close contacts,” said Yogesh Raghuvanshi, spokesperson of the district health department.
Kanika’s visits included a beauty parlour in Hazratganj area as well. Details of procedures of everyone who visited the parlour after her visit are also being submitted to the Health Department, confirmed an official from the department.
A UP government spokesperson confirmed that Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh has also gone into self-quarantine after Kanika tested positive.
As per the health department officials, “First, the ones who were in direct contact with the singer will be screened and put under home quarantine, even if they do not have symptoms. On displaying any symptoms, their samples will be tested for coronavirus. If any one of the secondary contacts shows symptoms of coronavirus they will also be screened and their samples tested. The department will keep on making a list of people unless it is ensured no one carries the virus and this will take up to 28 days of tracking.”
Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Amit Mohan declined to comment on the issue.
Also read: Novel Coronavirus Cases Mount to 195 in India