Twenty-six employees of a Tamil news channel in Chennai tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. The patients are part of the desk and reporting units of the channel. After a 24-year-old journalist in the staff tested positive two days ago, 94 others from the channel had given their swabs for testing.
According to sources in the Chennai Corporation, Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests were done on the 94 persons belonging to Sathiyam TV and they were informed that their results would arrive in 48 hours. Officials are probing if the sub-editor who first contracted the disease, could have got it from his father who is a sub-inspector and may have been a carrier of the infection.
â€śFor now, we have instructed that no one should go into and out of the office premises. Only three persons are being allowed to work in the Production Control Room (PCR), for the channel to stay on air. The others were told to be in home quarantine,â€ť says the official.
Sathiyam TV MD Isaac Livingstone said that the channel would not be telecasting live and they would cooperate with the government. "We are saddened by the fact that one of our own in Sathiyam TV and a few others from other TV channels got tested positive for coronavirus yesterday. This is unavoidable because our reporters go across the state to gather news for you all and in that pursuit some unfortunate things happen. At the same time, in order to cooperate with the State government and central government, Sathiyam TV has suspended its operations yesterday and today. I am happy to tell that this suspension was done to extend full cooperation to government officials, thus being a role model to other organisations. This is because we have to be a part in eradicating Coronavirus. It would be wrong of us to be selfish and say that our channel has to work irrespective of whoever gets infected. Hence we are only happy in doing this. We expect your support in the future too. We will back on air with full energy soon in a few hours," said the MD.
A journalist from the organisation who spoke to TNM said that the sub-editor had given his sample on Wednesday, on the insistence of his father who took the entire family for testing.
â€śThey live in the Royapuram police quarters and all the other family members tested negative. He found out that he had the virus only on Sunday morning and immediately informed the office,â€ť says the journalist.
The Corporation official further advises media personnel to be more cautious as they continue to go to their offices.
â€śSocial distancing is a must even if you are within your office premises. Wear a mask all the time even in the office and gloves if you are sharing computers or laptops,â€ť he says. â€śConstantly keep washing your hands and avoid contact with your colleagues.â€ť
On Sunday, TNM had reported that a TV journalist working with a Tamil news channel and a print reporter from a Tamil newspaper had tested positive for the virus. The total number of journalists in Tamil Nadu now found positive for the virus has increased to 28.