A COMMUNITY LEADER, who was leading a team of volunteers in Jungleshwar area of Rajkot since the locality reported its first case a month ago, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.
The news came hours after an indefinite curfew without any relaxation was imposed in the area.
Jungleshwar has emerged as a major cluster of coronavirus infection in the city, accounting for 25 of the total 34 cases in the district. Of the 25 cases, 24 have been reported in the last 11 days. The city recorded five cases on Saturday, all of them from Jungleshwar. One among the five was the 47-year-old community leader.
The leader, who is a property dealer by profession, took the lead when Rajkot district administration and the municipal corporation held a meeting with community leaders in Jungleshwar on March 20 after the district reported its first confirmed case on March 18.
The community leader, along with Harun Dakora, the local corporator of the RMC, assured the government that they would act as a bridge between the administration and the residents living in the housing society that was locked down after the first positive case was reported from there. Accordingly, the administration had enrolled around a dozen people suggested by the leader and Dakor as volunteers.
The containment measures were withdrawn on April 2 when the patient was discharged from hospital after he recovered from the viral infection. However, five days later, stricter restrictions were imposed on a larger part of Jungleshwar when a 41-year-old labourer tested positive. The property dealer was again in action. More volunteers were enrolled as the number of people contained in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus in the locality went up to around 7,000. These volunteers acted as a link between those confined in their homes and vendors selling daily essentials.
However, as part of sentinel surveillance, the health team took the property dealer’s samples for coronavirus testing on Friday. After the tests returned positive, RMC announced on Saturday morning and the community leader was admitted to isolation ward in civil hospital in the city.
“He was asymptomatic but his samples were collected as part of disease surveillance activity. We have shifted his eight close contacts, including his family members, to facility quarantine. We shall test all those who had come in his contact in the past couple of days,” Dr Rinkal Viradiya, medical officer of health (MOH), RMC, said.
Rajkot municipal commissioner Udit Agrawal said that the dealer was helping authorities in infection containment efforts. “We have our own team. Supply of daily essential goods will not be affected in the area,” Agrawal told The Indian Express.
However, Dakora said that the property dealer’s hospitalisation was a blow. “His presence made a big difference. It certainly is a loss for our team,” said the corporator.
Dr Viradiya said that they had launched a mass sampling drive from Saturday.
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