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Coronavirus: Six of group that travelled to Delhi, Vizag test positive in Andamans & Nicobar

The group had gone to Visakhapatnam by ship in February, and then taken a train to Delhi on March 18. On March 24, six members of the group took a Vistara flight to Port Blair via Kolkata, while another took an Indigo flight.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | Updated: March 28, 2020 7:38:19 am
Coronavirus, India Lockdown, coronavirus india, coronavirus india update, covid 19, indian express Because of its ecological and demographic sensitivity, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands— home to five of India’s most “particularly vulnerable tribal groups”—was among the first in the country to lock down. (File Photo)

IN THE last two days, six COVID-19 positive cases, all part of a 13-member group which travelled to Visakhapatnam and New Delhi, have been reported in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The group had gone to Visakhapatnam by ship in February, and then taken a train to Delhi on March 18. On March 24, six members of the group took a Vistara flight to Port Blair via Kolkata, while another took an Indigo flight.

Dr Avijit Roy, Joint Secretary, Health, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the region’s nodal officer for COVID-19 response, said they were taken to an isolation facility on arrival as they showed “mild symptoms”.

The other members of the group are yet to return.

“The patients told us that they went to Nizamuddin Dargah in New Delhi to attend a jamaat. On inquiry, we found out that a person who later died in Srinagar had attended this gathering just nine days before this group went there,” he said.

Because of its ecological and demographic sensitivity, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands— home to five of India’s most “particularly vulnerable tribal groups”—was among the first in the country to lock down.

The group had gone to Visakhapatnam by ship in February, and then taken a train to Delhi on March 18. On March 24, six members of the group took a Vistara flight to Port Blair via Kolkata, while another took an Indigo flight.

“We have enough medical supplies and protective gear for the next few weeks, but will need to requisition more after that,” said Dr Roy.

“One of the main sources of livelihood on the islands is tourism, and we shut that down two months ago. Many of the tribes have little interaction with the outside world anyway, we have completely stopped whatever interaction was there. The islands inhabited by these tribes are completely isolated,’’ said Chetan Sanghi, Chief Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The administration stopped operation of all ships, helicopters and Dornier aircraft between the islands a week ago. It has also stopped commercial fishing.

“The level of interaction with non-tribals differs from tribe to tribe. We have a nodal officer/ translator for every tribal colony on an island; three-four representatives of the tribe interact with the nodal officer. The tribes have been instructed to retreat to the interior forests of their island and not come out for a few weeks,’’ said a tribal affairs official.

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