July 14, 2020 / 2:48 PM / in 24 days

India's Lupin shuts drug plant after 17 staff test positive for COVID-19

AHMEDABAD, India July 14 (Reuters) - Indian drugmaker Lupin Ltd has shut one of its manufacturing plants in western India’s Gujarat state after at least 17 employees at the site tested positive for COVID-19, two government officials said on Tuesday.

Lupin, one of India’s top five drugmakers, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The company has some 11 manufacturing plants at the Ankleshwar site in Gujarat state, which is spread out over 40 acres and has 984 employees, according to the company website.

Employees from one of those plants, which produces tuberculosis drugs, have tested positive in recent days, said MD Modia, a senior district official.

“The plant was shut on July 12 after the cases were confirmed,” said Modia, adding that the site has since been sanitized. “No cases have been reported from the other plants in the facility and their operations are unaffected,” he said.

Other employees who have come in contact with those who have tested positive are also in the process of being tested, said another senior government official from the Bharuch district.

Lupin makes everything from heart drugs to asthma and diabetes medicines that are sold in over 100 countries, with its largest market being North America.

While the number of infections from the novel coronavirus has been falling in many countries, in India, cases have been rising by the thousands in recent weeks.

India had 906,752 cases of the coronavirus with 28,498 new infections reported on Tuesday, according to data from the federal health ministry, the third highest total in the world behind Brazil and the United States. (Additional reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in BENGALURU; Writing by Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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