MP govt orders all district collectors to trace, quarantine Kumbh returnees
Madhya Pradesh on Friday ordered all districts to trace people who visited the Mahakumbh in Haridwar, test them for Covid and quarantine them, after a similar exercise in Vidisha district showed that 60 out of 61 devotees contracted the infection.
Vidisha’s chief medical and health officer BS Ahirwar said the administration traced 61 people who returned from the Kumbh in Gyaraspur and found 60 of them were infected. At least 9.1 million people visited the Kumbh this year, which was criticised for violating Covid norms.
“It is surprising that 99% people returned from Kumbh in Gyaraspur area have been tested positive. More than two dozen people who have returned from Kumbh are yet to be traced. It is a matter of concern as they could be super spreader of the infection,” said Ahirwar.
In the district, 71 Kumbh returnees have tested positive in total and 313 other devotees have been quarantined. In all, the district has posted 3241 cases in the past two weeks.
Madhya Pradesh posted 12,400 cases and 97 deaths on Friday, taking its tally to 466915 and 5616, respectively.
The state home department asked district collectors to speed up the tracing of Kumbh returnees and their contacts and quarantine them for 14 days. They will be given entry in the village and urban locality only after an RT-PCR test, said an officer of a home department, who didn’t wish to be named.
“Most of the districts are yet to trace people and share data especially in urban area. After this Vidisha incident, the collectors have been asked to create awareness and hold a campaign to request people to share information of Kumbh returnees and to quarantine them compulsorily,” said additional chief secretary (home), Rajesh Rajora.
But some people opposed the move.
“We are absolutely fine and came back 10 days ago but now the administration are forcing us to undergo quarantine. This is an illogical step. Why only us, they should do the same with all those who travelled in the past few days.” said Rajesh Jat, resident of Sirohi village of the district.
The state transport department has also suspended bus services between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
A second officer in the home department said it was not easy to trace people and quarantine them. “Many people are not willing to tell that they came from Kumbh. Only after testing positive, they say so. They are afraid of quarantine outside the village,” the officer said.