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Maharashtra: Nanded authorities search for four missing sewadars from Sikh shrine

While 16 of the sewadars were traced, search was on for the other four till the filing of this report on Monday evening.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: May 5, 2020 2:00:18 am
Coronavirus cases, Nanded pilgrims, Sikh shring, Maharashtra cases, indian express news Till 5 pm on Monday, Nanded reported 34 positive cases including three deaths. (Representational)

District authorities in Nanded are searching for four sewadars from Gurdwara Langar Sahib, who have tested positive for coronavirus. They are missing since their swabs were taken for testing.

Till 5 pm on Monday, Nanded reported 34 positive cases including three deaths.

It became a concern for the authorities here after some pilgrims from the Sikh shrine tested positive for the virus upon returning to their home state of Punjab. More than 3,500 pilgrims were stranded in the city, which houses one of the five temporal seats of Sikhism, Takht Sri Hazur Sahib. After a nationwide lockdown was imposed, they remained here for nearly six weeks before the Punjab government made special arrangements to take them home.Coronavirus cases, Nanded pilgrims, Sikh shring, Maharashtra cases, indian express news

As reports of positive cases came from Punjab, the authorities here too went in for testing of staff and other people associated with the shrine of Takht Hazur Sahib. Last week, throat swabs of 20 sewadars at Gurdwara Langar Sahib tested positive for the virus.

While 16 of the sewadars were traced, search was on for the other four till the filing of this report on Monday evening.

On Monday, the total number of positive cases went up to 34 and the district collector declared the whole district a containment zone. On Sunday, Nanded reported its third death due to the virus when a 45-year-old woman with previous respiratory illness succumbed to the disease. District authorities are now trying to trace the source of her infection as she had no travel history or contact with anyone who had the virus.

The district had not reported any case till the end of April, after which there was one case. But once the reports from Punjab started coming in, and authorities here too got onto their toes, the district was moved into the red zone. Most activities in the district have been stopped and the authorities have sealed off 1 km area around the shrine.

The situation has led to questions as to why the Nanded authorities did not test the pilgrims before they left for Punjab. However, the authorities said the pilgrims could not be tested as they had neither travelled to hotspot zones nor shown any symptom or come in contact with positive cases.

“Our samples would have been rejected as ICMR guidelines had stated that testing would be done only on those conditions,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

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