The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has identified at least 14,000 people who they believe are at high risk of getting infected and infecting others on a “superspreader” scale, and are screening and testing them for COVID-19.
Rajiv Kumar Gupta, the additional chief secretary appointed in charge of Ahmedabad, said in a statement: “It was reported that in each zone 2,000 superspreaders are there. It was decided to screen all of them, with a target of 500 every day in each ward”. Gupta later put out a video statement that said that nearly 25% of the people identified as “superspreaders” had tested positive in the past few days.
The previous municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad Vijay Nehra, who is now in quarantine, started a campaign on April 20 to test people whom he described as “superspreaders – those who, due to their nature of work, come in contact with a large number of people and carry the risk of getting infected and infecting others”. The term super-spreader is generally used to refer to a patient who is extra contagious, and not a potential patient who could turn contagious.
Gupta’s statement said, “Superspreaders like those working in vegetable shops, grocery stores, supermarkets, ice-cream parlours and …Swiggy, Zomato, Dominos and others become a potent sources of infection for many. Therefore, in the entire AMC area, all shops and home-delivery services except milk and medicine shall remain closed for seven days starting May 7 at 6am”.
“There will be a little inconvenience but all of us need to work together to contain the coronavirus infection,” he said.
All such high-risk traders and vendors in each of the 48 wards of the seven zones are expected to screened by May 13. In Ahmedabad city, over 220 such traders and vendors have tested positive since April 21, and over 80% of them are vegetable vendors.
On Monday, AMC also began issuing cards to vegetable vendors containing the date of thermal screening, which will be mandatory to sell vegetables and valid for a week. On the first day, 1,437 vendors were screened, of whom 1,409 cards were issued and 28 were advised to go into quarantine.
On Tuesday, 33 traders and vendors tested positive for corona infection, of which nearly 20 were from Bhaipura and Hatkeshwar.
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