Karnataka: Shopkeepers fleeing to avoid rapid tests | Bengaluru News – Times of India

Healthcare workers try to persuade shop owners and customers to take the test in Dharwad on Friday

HUBBALLI: To curb the spread of Covid-19, the Hubballi-Dharwad district administration had launched a drive to test shopkeepers in markets with rapid antigen kits, but the move has hit a hurdle: Many shopkeepers are opposing the drive and even shutting shops to avoid undergoing the test.
Shopkeepers and customers flee when they see health workers arriving to collect samples, officials say. About 15 shops have been sealed in the twin cities over the past two days after owners or workers tested positive.
The drive began on Thursday and shopkeepers in Dajibanpet, Janatabazar, Durgadbail, Harsha complex and other areas in Hubballi and Tikare Road, Subhas Road and Gandhichowk in Dharwad argued with health workers who gone there to collect samples. They then shut their shops and left, although health workers did manage to convince some to take the test.
Shopkeepers say they have incurred huge losses and cannot afford to have their shops sealed. Also the test drive is scaring away customers. “If we have symptoms we will undergo the test, but we should not be compelled,” they said.
District deputy commissioner Nitesh Patil said the drive was launched on Thursday and was aimed at making the district Covid19-free. “Hundreds of people visit these shops daily and if anyone in the shop is infected, then the virus spreads to the customers,” Patil said. “Our aim is to contain the spread by testing all shopkeepers. But, they are closing their shops when we go to their areas.”
He went on to say, “They should have no fear since only seven or eight return positive out of 100 tests. We are doing our best to convince shopkeepers and are allaying fears, so they are slowly coming forward to take the test.”
Santosh Biradar, Dharwad tahsildar said, “Shopkeepers in Gandhichowk ran away, but we convinced some of them and collected 150 samples. Of these, 15 tested positive till Friday afternoon. We have sealed nine shops in Dharwad.”


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Sagar Biswas

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