Around 300 casual workers at the Haldia port complex panicked and left the dock on Friday morning after an engineer there had tested positive for Covid-19.
The 38-year-old patient had returned to Haldia from a congregation at Nizamuddin in New Delhi on March 24 and reported at the port’s administrative office the same evening to discuss the docking of a manganese carrier at the inner jetty.
“On Friday morning, workers unloading the carrier left the spot when they heard that the engineer, who is the site-in-charge of a private cargo handler, had tested positive,” said a port official.
Sources said it remained unclear whether the man had informed his colleagues of his whereabouts prior to joining duty at the port. “The engineer hails from Chennai and has been working with a private employer in Haldia for the past four years,” said the official.
“One of our contractual employees tested positive for Covid-19 this week. It has made several others flee the port in panic. Now, we are trying to draw up the full list of people with whom the patient might have come in contact on March 24,” said the port’s general manager (marine), Udayan Ray.
On Friday morning, eight permanent employees of the port complex were sent into quarantine by the East Midnapore district administration and police. “We are still trying to draw up the full list of officials who were present when the engineer came to the office on March 24. We tracked down him to his home only on March 30 after we were provided with a list of Nizamuddin attendees,” said a police officer.