Of the 350 journalists tested for coronavirus in Delhi, three have tested positive, the Delhi government confirmed on Sunday.
The testing took place after 27 employees of a news channel in Chennai and 53 TV journalists in Mumbai tested positive for the virus. The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi has set up a special centre in Patel Nagar to test media professionals who have been reporting during the lockdown.
Sunita Prasad, the chief medical officer of West Delhi, told Newslaundry: "Until now, 350 mediapersons have been tested of whom three people have been found to be positive."
One is a freelance photographer, another is associated with a news agency, and the third is a cameraperson.
The freelance photographer has been admitted to a hospital in Najajgadh. The news agency employee is "asymptomatic", one of his colleagues said. "He used to work in the office till late at night because of which he would interact with very few people," the colleague said. "The moment we got the person's report, we quarantined him. Apart from that, we also acquired information on the people he met in the past seven days, and all of them have been quarantined as well. They will be tested either today or tomorrow morning."
The colleague added: "We have also been taking all precautionary measures since January to protect our employees from the pandemic."
Update: In the wake of three journalists testing positive for Covid-19, the Indian government’s press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak was suddenly shifted from the National Media Centre to the Shashtri Bhawan in Delhi today. For nearly a month and a half, the media centre served as the only formal platform for communication regarding the ongoing crisis between the government and the media.
A message was shared on the Press Information Bureau’s WhatsApp group for journalists who cover the briefing that the venue had been changed. “It just mentioned the change of venue. No reason was given for the decision,” said a health reporter who regularly attends the briefing. However, the reporter added, the reason seems to be three journalists testing positive for coronavirus. It's not yet clear, though, if these three journalists had any of the briefings at the NMC.
Newslaundry has contacted Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, principal director general of PIB, for comment. The report will be updated if a response is received.
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