Gujarat-based Cadila Pharma has confirmed the deaths of three of its employees due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. All of them were working at the company’s manufacturing unit in Dholka, a location on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
Company sources informed that two of the three deceased employees were workers on the packaging line. The third one held the designations of General Manager-Production and Assistant General Manager-Packaging.
A person close to the development but did not wish to be named, said, “We came to know that the deceased GM of Production was also suffering from diabetes. Only two days back, test reports confirmed him as COVID-19 positive.” On the other hand, reportedly, the deceased General Manager of Packaging was tested positive several days earlier but while awaiting his test results, he had come in contact with nearly 100-150 people because of his job profile which requires constant interactions and follow-ups.
He also shared that since the pharma company holds 49 per cent stake in the Apollo Hospital, Ahmedabad, all the health-related issues of employees are directed to the same hospital. The General Manager of Production died at home, whereas, the Assistant General Manager of Packaging was admitted in the hospital.”
On May 5, 2020, the company voluntarily shut operations after 26 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. On May 7, 2020, the local authority (District Magistrate) also instructed the company to shut operations completely and resume only after following the sanitation guidelines given by the Government.
Dr Hemant Koshia, Commissioner, Gujarat FDCA informed, “There was a communication sent to the company from the DCGI as well as from the State FDA office about ensuring safety and quality measures, before resuming operations, ensuring that no products get contaminated due to COVID-19 positive cases from the facility.”
“Since positive cases of COVID-19 were registered from the packaging line of the company, we had asked the company to also carry out UV-light sanitisation on all the ready cartons of products and they had assured to take all the needed sanitation measures. These recommendations were given by the Gujarat FDCA from the larger perspective of ensuring public safety as well.”
The company claims that it resumed operations from the manufacturing site on May 20, 2020, only after following out the detailed sanitisation procedures at the plant and its surroundings, as recommended by the state and central authorities.
A company spokesperson assured that all benefits and support will be extended to each one of the deceased employees’ families in every possible manner – financially and otherwise.
As of May 22, Cadila Pharma puts the total number of active COVID-19 positive cases at 31. 90 per cent of them are home quarantined after consultation with medical professionals and recommendations.
However, using social media channels, employees have posted the names of five deceased staff, plus a father of one of the deceased employees. Discussions on various private WhatsApp groups of pharma professionals put the total number of COVID-19 positive cases at 86, as of May 22. (Check: https://www.expresspharma.in/covid19-updates/learning-to-live-with-covid-19/)
The number of positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Ahmedabad district is rising significantly. As per information available in the public domain on May 22, 2020, the district remains one the worst-affected in Gujarat with 9,449 cases and 619 deaths, while 3330 have recovered from the ailment.