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In coldspot districts, random testing to keep the virus at bay

The government’s caution comes a day after the surprise turn in Rae Bareli where 33 cases were reported in one day while the district was all set to become “corona-free” with its two patients on the path of recovery.

Written by Avaneesh Mishra | Lucknow | April 23, 2020 6:15:54 am
coronavirus, coronavirus in up, coronavirus cases in up, coronavirus testing in up, indian express news Civic workers spray disinfectant in Moradabad Wednesday. (PTI)

Even as one more district — Pratapgarh — was added to the list of “corona-free” districts in the state on Wednesday, taking the number of districts with zero active COVID-19 cases to 11, the state government has cautioned the officials of these districts to not let their vigil down.

The government’s caution comes a day after the surprise turn in Rae Bareli where 33 cases were reported in one day while the district was all set to become “corona-free” with its two patients on the path of recovery.

“These 11 districts have been asked to be extra vigilant as the virus is very tricky and can come back at any time. These districts have been asked to do continuous sampling and ensure that the virus does not return,” Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said.

“No vaccine or medicine has been developed till now to cure this disease. Hence prevention is the only solution,” he added.

The 11 “corona-free” districts are Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Hathras, Prayagraj, Bareilly, Maharajganj, Shahjahanpur, Barabanki, Hardoi, Kaushambi and Pratapgarh.

The sudden emergence of Rae Bareli as a major hotspot has also put the coldspots — the 22 districts which have so far not reported any single case of coronavirus infection — in the state to take adequate safety measures and strict enforcement of the lockdown.

The 22 districts have also intensified random sampling test so that entry of the virus is detected at the earliest possible instance and could be stopped.

The state government has already directed these districts to take at least 20-30 random samples for testing on a daily basis. All patients with flu symptoms admitted in different hospitals of these districts are continuously being tested in the districts.

District Magistrate of Jhansi — one of the 22 coldspot districts — Andra Vamsi said that as they do not have any positive case yet, they have to be extra vigilant to trace any person who has come from outside or could be possible contact of a positive person.

“The challenges the hotspots faced were in tracing people linked to Tablighi Jamaat cluster and in controlling the wave of the returning migrant labourers. Luckily, no Tablighi Jamaat member is there in our district. The number of migrant labourers is close to 16,000 and we have put quarantined everyone of them. The main thing is that we ensure continuous testing. As we have our own testing lab in the district, we are able to test around 80 samples every day. These samples are not exactly on a random basis. The samples are based on specific inputs we get. We are also testing people with cough and flu-like symptoms,” Vamsi told The Indian Express.

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