Migrants drive the Covid-19 spiral in Rajasthan with 1,100 cases in 14 days
Several rural districts in the state have now registered coronavirus positive cases largely due to infection among returning migrant workers.Updated: May 21, 2020 16:16 IST
The numbers of Covid-19 cases in Rajasthan have seen a sharp rise since the beginning of May when the migrants began arriving. In the last two weeks, more than 1,100 new cases have been recorded in the state taking the tally to 6,146.
Of these, 2,574 are active cases while 3,422 patients have recovered and 150 have died.
Rajasthan was showing a decline in the number of active cases and the number of new infections were also coming down but the influx of migrants has sent it spiralling upwards and put pressure on the state’s health infrastructure, especially in rural areas, which were so far largely untouched by the disease.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot has acknowledged that preventing the spread of the virus in rural areas as migrants return will be a challenge for the government.
Health minister Raghu Sharma has said the government’s priority is quarantine and all those returning to the state will have to undergo 14-day compulsory quarantine.
“Total focus of the health department is now on strengthening quarantine facilities. The migrants have to undergo the 14-day quarantine period compulsorily so that people in the state, who have been in lockdown and kept safe, do not get infected,” he said.
According to the health department, the number of active cases in the state on April 21 was 1,435. On April 30, this figure went up to 1,633. On May 1, there was a drop in active cases to 1,488. It continued to decrease till May 7 when the number of cases stood at 1,439. Since then the graph of active cases has shown a continual rise.
Dr Ravi Prakash Sharma, additional director, rural health, said active cases refer to those patients who have excess viral load and are infected with the virus.
“The rise in active cases can be attributed to the migrants who are returning home in large numbers as well as the aggressive sampling being done to identify positive cases,” he said.
He said the increase in cases is not a matter of concern as most cases are mildly infective and will get cured by themselves and do not need hospitalisation.
Nine districts with the highest migrant influx have reported the highest number of new cases. They are Barmer, Bhilwara, Churu, Dungarpur, Jalore, Pali, Rajsamand, Sikar and Sirohi.
In the beginning of May, several of these districts were on the verge of becoming corona-free with a majority of patients having recovered. But since then, they have been deluged with migrants.
Dungarpur has been among the hardest hit by the migrant influx. Health department data shows that the district had only two active cases on May 5. But as of May 21, it increased to 258 cases with 256 migrants testing positive.
Similarly, Pali had 20 active cases on May 5 which has risen to 168 with 106 migrants testing positive. Jalore had no active cases on May 5 but now, the district has 124 cases after 120 migrants were detected with the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
Sirohi, too, had no active cases on May 5 but has 72 today with 69 migrants found to be infected.
Cases in Rajsamand increased from five to 42 in the same period largely due to the migrants.
44 migrants have tested positive in Barmer, taking its tally to 51 from two active cases on May 5.
Churu had no active cases as all 37 patients had recovered. It now has 37 active cases after 35 migrants tested positive.
Bhilwara’s cases have risen from two to 39 with 45 migrants testing positive and Sikar, which had three active cases on May 5, now has 55 cases with 55 migrants testing positive.