Seven members of a family of 11 who reached Dahod district from Nimach in Madhya Pradesh on April 29 have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Dahod district administration said that the family returned on grounds of medical emergency, while Nimach district administration denied granting any such permission.
All the members who are asymptomatic were quarantined and tested immediately after crossing over to the Gujarat border from MP. Four other members who tested negative are in institutional quarantine. Vankarwas in Dahod kasba, where the family resides has also been placed under containment.
This is the second instance in which families that travelled to Dahod from MP during the lockdown have tested positive. Earlier, a nine-year-old girl — Dahod’s first COVID-19 case, and her uncle tested positive after they travelled from Indore to Dahod for the final rites of the girl’s father.
The family of 11 travelled to Nimach in March to attend a wedding there on March 20. But they could not return to Dahod, as nation wide lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. They spent 39 days at their relative’s house in Nimach.
“When the family reached here, they were immediately quarantined. Samples were collected as they had a travel history from MP. The family has claimed that they were permitted to return on grounds of medical emergency. We are probing the matter,” said Dahod Collector, Vijay Kharadi.
Denying that the Nimach administration had granted permission to the family, Nimach District Collector Jitendra Singh Raje said, “The family travelled back when the state borders were relaxed for labour movement towards the end of April. We also arranged for buses to ferry people to Rajasthan border. The family boarded one of the buses and managed to cross over to Dahod.” The family was screened at at least three places and since all of them were asymptomatic, none of them were tested, he added.
The administration has sprung into action as Nimach district had zero cases so far. Around 400 people were tested, 80 of whom were close contacts of the Dahod family. “We have been testing only those with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI). But after the cases surfaced from Dahod of persons who stayed here for over a month, we will look into the possibility of random sampling as well,” Raje said.
“There could be a possibility that they contracted the infection from co-passengers while travelling. But a 39-day stay is a long period and they must have met a lot of people since it was a wedding. We are tracing more of their contacts and will ramp up testing as well,” Raje added.