After remaining in green, remote Nandurbar has now reported seven COVID-19 positive cases, which has shaken up the district administration. The emergence of Malegaon taluka in the neighbouring Nashik district – barely 120 km from Nandurbar – has rattled the authorities who face much constrain in controlling the disease.
Dr Rajendra Bharud, district collector of Nandurbar, confirmed that till date seven positive cases have been reported in the district. The cases are from the talukas of Sahada, Akkalkuwa and Nandurbar. “At present, all of them are asymptomatic and have travel history. We are aggressively tracing out their contacts and taking measures,” he said.
However, senior authorities from the district while speaking to The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity admitted to the challenges the tribal district faces. They said Malegaon is barely three hours from Nandurbar and it is very easy to cross over from Nashik via Jalagona, Dhule. “Nandurbar district itself has just 1,200 policemen and it is not possible for us to make the district borders seal proof,” said one of them. Also, Nandurbar shares border with both Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which does not make the work easy. “What is common in all the seven cases is that they have someone in the family who had traveled either to Malegaon or have come from Surat,” said the official.
Alluding to the case found in Akkalkuwa, an officer said, she had traveled from Malegaon and was involved in distributing mid-day meals. Other than these known cases, chances of people sneaking in the district in goods carriers has also not been ruled out. Without proper intelligence, it is not possible to search each and every vehicle coming in the district and thus many from Malegaon or Gujarat can find it easy to come in, the officer added.
Authorities said some parts of the district are remote and mobile connections are not easily available. They said the strategy is to ensure that the epidemic does not spread in these parts. Village-level committees have been formed to police the roads so that unauthorised vehicles do not come in the village. All 106 ration shops in the district have been ordered to provide grains to people. Sarpanchs and others have been impressed on the need to wear mask and the urgency of practicing social distancing. At present, the authorities admit, they are on hot bricks and hope they are able to control the spread of the virus.
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