Three employees of Gujarat-based Cadila Pharmaceuticals died on Friday of the novel coronavirus, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. Earlier this month, 26 employees had tested positive.

Eventually, 35 employees were found infected. The plant shut down operations on May 7.

The three who died were identified as Himanshu Kavathia, assistant general manager in the production department, Ashok Patel, supervisor in the packaging department, and Umesh Chauhan, a contract worker. Unidentified company officials told the newspaper that the deceased were between 40 and 58 years old.

Officials said Himanshu and Ashok were residents of Ahmedabad and had been hospitalised. “Umesh and Ashok were among those who tested positive initially, while Himanshu picked up the infection later,” a company official said.

The official said that Umesh was being treated at home in Bhat village in Dholka, after the hospital sent him back as he had been responding well. “However, after three days, he developed complications,” the official said.

A spokesperson for Cadila Pharmaceuticals said that the company is saddened by the death of its employees, PTI reported. “We have formed teams who are already talking to the families of those infected or quarantined,” he said.

Cadila Pharmaceuticals was planning to reopen its plant soon. “We were preparing ourselves for reopening,” the spokesperson said. “We had conducted multiple sanitisations of the facility and state government health officials had already conducted an audit for the same.”

Currently, eight employees of the firm and three of their relatives remain quarantined at a centre created by Cadila on the campus of a Jain temple in Dholka town in Ahmedabad district.

Ahmedabad is one of the worst-affected cities in India. As of Saturday, it has reported 9,724 cases of Covid-19 and 645 deaths, according to figures from the state department.

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