Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, July 9
Top-rung members of the bureaucracy are among the most hit during this pandemic, it seems.
In Jalandhar, SDM Shahkot and SSP Rural were among the 32 persons, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday. The district tally has now risen to 1,042.
The SSP tested positive a day after he attended the wedding of senior Congress leader Avtar Henry's daughter. The event was attended by MLAs, bureaucrats and many eminent officials of the district.
Notably, the wedding saw almost all senior functionaries of the town. Bawa Henry, Avtar Henry's son, is Jalandhar North MLA and brother of the bride. In attendance were also Jalandhar MP Santokh Chaudhary, Mayor Jagdish Raja, Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, MLAs Sushil Rinku, Pargat Singh, Rajinder Beri, Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia, Jagbir Brar, among others.
Divisional Commissioner Rajkamal Chaudhary and MC Commssioner Karnesh Sharma were also present at the wedding. In the photographs of the event, key guests are seen posing with masks slid down.
In a photograph of the event, MLAs Pargat Singh and Sushil Rinku as well as Commissioner of Police are seen posing with masks slid down, while industrialist Sheetal Vij and MLA Sherowalia are seen without masks. A picture of the SSP shaking hands with the MLA also went viral. Sources, however, said the photographs were from an earlier event and not from the same wedding. The SSP also denied shaking hands.
Speaking to The Tribune, SSP Rural said: "I didn't shake hands with Avtar Henry. I was at the event for a very short time and left soon afterwards. Everyone was taking necessary precautions."
Slightly symptomatic, the SSP has fever. While the SSP stays with his wife, daughter and mother, his family members are yet to be tested for Covid.
MLA Bawa Henry could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Sample wasn’t taken at the time of wedding
Health officials said the SSP was tested for Covid on Thursday, a day after the wedding, by the Health Department. His sample wasn't taken for testing at the time of the wedding. He was tested by the True Nat machine on Thursday.
While the Health Department confirmed positive results of the SSP on late Thursday evening, all key bureaucracy of the district might have to be placed under mandatory quarantine depending on the contact tracing of SSP Jalandhar.
Nodal Officer Jalandhar Dr TP Singh said: "Currently, only the positive tests of some persons have been confirmed though we can't identify them yet. We are in the process of tracing their contact history. After contact tracing, all key people attending any congregation attended by a person who tests positive will be placed under quarantine. We will, however, be testing them after five to six days because there is a tendency of false Covid reports initially."
MLA Sushil Rinku, when contacted, said: "I did attend the wedding, but didn't see any particular official, as I went a bit late. At present, we have no quarantine instructions from the Health Department."
One succumbs to virus, 32 test positive
Jalandhar: A 54-year-old man from Kapurthala died in the district on Thursday. The district also reported 32 new Covid cases. A Senior Superintendent of Police and Shahkot SDM were among those who tested positive. Of the new cases, eight were from Basti Bawa Khel and two from Makhdoompura. Other areas that reported new cases included Bhagat Singh Nagar, Qazi Mohalla, Dahsmesh Nagar, New Baradari (Shahkot), Hargobind Nagar, Bashirpura and Naagra.
The total caseload mounted to 53,08,014
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