Hyderabad, March 19 (IANS) Health authorities in Telangana on Thursday sounded high-alert in Karimnagar after eight Indonesian citizens who had come to the town were tested positive for COVID-19.
The health department rolled out cluster containment plan by pressing into service 100 medical teams to screen the people in the area where Indonesian citizens had stayed for two days.
Shops and business establishments were closed and the district administration imposed orders prohibiting Assembly of five or more persons. A road near district collector's office was sealed.
Police personnel were deployed to cordon off 3 km area around the place where the group of Indonesians had stayed for a religious programme.
The officials were also trying to identify the people who came into contact with the Indonesians. A group of 10 Indonesians had reached Karimnagar by train from Delhi on March 14. They were accompanied by three Indians.
After one of the Indonesian showed suspected symptoms of COVID-19, they were shifted to Hyderabad and kept in isolation at government-run Gandhi Hospital on March 16. While one of them was tested positive on Tuesday, seven others confirmed positive late on Wednesday, sending the authorities into a tizzy.
The police were also analyzing the CCTV footage to identify the places where the Indonesian citizens had gone. The health personnel launched efforts on war-footing for a door-to-door screening of people for suspected symptoms of COVID-19. Two medical colleges with 50 beds were readied as a precautionary measure.
A total of eight persons including a man who had recently returned from the UK were tested positive on Wednesday, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 13.
The state has been reporting one positive case every day since Saturday last.
State minister Gangula Kamalakar along with district collector K. Shashank and other officials held a meeting to review the situation. Health Minister E. Rajender was monitoring the situation from command and control centre in Hyderabad.
With the number of positive cases suddenly shooting up, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has called an emergency meeting with some of his cabinet colleagues and senior officials. The meeting to be held Thursday afternoon is expected to decide on additional measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
"Since Coronavirus is spreading through those coming from abroad, all those coming from abroad should undergo tests. People also should be on alert and inform the authorities about those coming from abroad. People should also take measures for their personal health."
The CM has instructed the officials concerned to allow people coming from abroad to go home only after they went through the complete check up. The state government is already implementing week day and 15-day action plan to prevent the spread of the virus.
The state government has already ordered closure of all educational institutions, amusement parks, zoo parks, museums, gyms, swimming pools, clubs, pubs and bars till March 31.
The government has also banned all meetings, rallies, trade fairs and other public gatherings. Restrictions were also imposed on the number of guests at marriages. The function halls were directed not to take any bookings for the marriages after March 31.