H1N1 fears spread in India’s Silicon Valley

Data on H1N1 accessed by TOI show between January 1 and February 20, the state saw 175 cases, significantly lower than the 482 reported in the same period last year.

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Corona Virus
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BENGALURU: A tech hub of Bengaluru was in the grip of an H1N1 influenza scare after German software major SAP pressed the panic button following two of its employees in the city contracting the virus.

However, health department officials said there’s no cause for alarm.

SAP shut its offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Gurugram and asked all employees to work from home till further notice. It undertook fumigation and sanitisation of the offices.

The news spread after RMZ, which operates the business park in which SAP is located in Bengaluru, issued an advisory to all tenants on measures they could take, specifically mentioning SAP’s actions.

The park’s other tenants include Accenture, Honeywell, Danske IT, Shell Technologies, Morgan Stanley, Capgemini and ANZ.

Sources said some of these companies told employees to work from home for the next three days, but considering they are holidays for most employees (Mahashivaratri followed by the weekend), the order will have little impact.

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Govt says no need to panic over H1N1

Jayaram S Govindaiah, head of group real estate and corporate services, Danske IT, said, “We requested our employees not to visit the food court, which is where the SAP tower is located.

We brought in sanitisers for employees and sanitised the handles and doors of conference rooms and cafeteria.

We had a stock of N95 masks and asked staffers to use them. We asked our Danish visitors to work from their hotel.”

A top official from Karnataka health department indicated the response was an overreaction. “We think the coronavirus fear is behind the H1N1 scare. It’s good to take precautions but there’s no need to panic,” he said.

Data on H1N1 accessed by TOI show between January 1 and February 20, the state saw 175 cases, significantly lower than the 482 reported in the same period last year.

No deaths have been recorded so far this year.

The seasonal H1N1 is an airborne viral infection that spreads through large droplets generated by coughing/ sneezing and indirect contact by touching contaminated objects or surfaces.

Dr Prakash Kumar, joint director, communicable diseases, health and family welfare department, said there’s no spike in the number of H1N1 cases and no cause for panic. “H1N1 is regularly seen and there’s herd immunity to it.

There is no need for quarantine but the affected person can take rest at home till s/he recovers. Over 80% of H1N1 cases are self-limiting. Complications are seen in only 1%. We are not aware of the measures taken by tech companies,” he said.

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