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Tripura: Door-to-door Covid survey hits roadblock, villagers claim virus only affects urban people

On Monday, when the medical teams tried to enter tribal hamlets like Twimadhu, Mungiakami, Jumbari, Tulashikhar and few other villages in the vicinity, the villagers cut off all entry and exit points in these areas and demanded the local administration to exclude them from the survey process.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Updated: July 28, 2020 3:56:02 pm
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Tripura’s week-long door-to-door survey for COVID-19, which started on Monday, ran into severe resistance among villagers at Khowai district, who feel coronavirus afflicts urban people alone and not villagers. On Monday, when the medical teams tried to enter tribal hamlets like Twimadhu, Mungiakami, Jumbari, Tulashikhar and few other villages in the vicinity, the villagers cut off all entry and exit points in these areas and demanded the local administration to exclude them from the survey process.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Khowai District Magistrate Smriti Mol said: “The villagers have expressed their conviction that coronavirus afflicts only urban people and doesn’t affect villagers. They set up road blockade on all major roads in and out of their village, preventing medical teams to access their areas.”

The official stated that since the door-to-door COVID-19 survey is a voluntary process, the agitators were not coerced.

“We explained them that samples would not be collected from everyone. A survey would be done in all households and those found with symptoms would undergo sample collection. They have not conceded to the survey yet. Let’s see, there are more days of survey ahead. If they agree, we shall have the samples collected”, the official said.

Khowai district Superintendent of Police(SP) Kiran Kumar said no deterioration of law and order was found and the area is peaceful according to latest reports. However, he said the villagers have some prejudice regarding coronavirus and many of them feel coronavirus doesn’t spread in the villages.

“They put up the blockade around 10 AM last morning and resisted the medical team. The blockade was lifted around 3 PM but they haven’t agreed to join the survey yet”, the SP said.

Tripura Health and Family Welfare Director Dr. Radha Debbarma later told reporters that she visited the village herself and tried to convince the villagers but they declined to cooperate.

“They haven’t allowed us to conduct the survey till today. We aren’t sure that prompted them to protest but we have received reports of similar resistance to the survey process from some other places as well”, Dr. Debbarma informed.

She said the health department is continuing efforts to sensitize these people and convince them to participate in the survey process.

On July 24, Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath had announced door-o-door survey for COVID-19 across Tripura from Monday to compile a list of people affected with COVID-like symptoms through rapid antigen test. The week-long survey is being held as he state undergoes three-day complete lockdown till tomorrow.

As per latest reports, 4,067 people have been tested positive with COVID-19 in Tripura, out of which 2,560 have recovered. With 17 deaths and a 2.82 percent positivity rate, Tripura is testing 34,766 persons for coronavirus per million. The state claims it has a 63.22 percent recovery rate and 0.43 percent mortality rate.

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