New Covid-19 hotspots emerge in MP as cases continue to increase
Ujjain, along with Khargone and Jabalpur, have emerged among new Covid-19 hotspots in Madhya Pradesh, where Indore and Bhopal remain the worst-hit with 1,176 and 415 cases.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 07:24 IST
Around 200% increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain has taken the region’s infection tally to 106 from 33 on April 21 and alarmed officials that the situation there too may go out of hand like in Indore. The number of fatalities has also more than doubled from seven to 17 during this period. Ujjain now has the second-highest fatality rate in the state after Indore. Till March 31, Ujjain had registered only six cases and two fatalities.
Ujjain, along with Khargone and Jabalpur, have emerged among new Covid-19 hotspots in Madhya Pradesh, where Indore and Bhopal remain the worst-hit with 1,176 and 415 cases.
A health department official, who did not want to be named, said Ujjain’s case appears to be similar to that of Indore, where the administration became complacent initially thinking it had controlled the situation. “The virus was spreading alarmingly in the congested localities [in Indore]. Another problem with Ujjain is that test reports are coming very late here. The reports were delayed by eight to 10 days in many cases.” The number of cases are likely to go further up since 400 reports are still pending.
Dr Mahavir Khandelwal, said most of localities affected are in Ujjain’s old city and the new patients are those who were in contact with those earlier tested positive.
Jabalpur had reported only eight cases until March 28. No fresh cases were reported for the next 12 days until April 8. By April 17, there were 13 Covid-19 patients in the region. The number of cases has spiked over the last 10 days with 55 more people testing positive for the disease. Jabalpur now has 68 cases but has reported just one fatality.
A health department official said 14 Covid-19 patients in Jabalpur belong to a family. Another eight are their neighbours.
Jabalpur’s chief medical and health officer, Dr Manish Mishra, said the patients are from certain localities of the city and they were able to quarantine those who came in contact with them. “Hence, the situation will improve in the coming days.”
The first four Covid-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh were reported from Jabalpur. They included three from a trader’s family, who had returned from Dubai. The fourth one, a student, had returned from Germany. Later, three employees of the trader were also found Covid-19 positive.
Khargone reported its first Covid-19 case on April 1 when a person died of the disease. Till April 12, there were only 14 cases in the area. Over the last fortnight, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of patients in Khargone that has taken the tally of cases to 61. The area has reported six fatalities.
A health department official said the infection in Khargone spread from a locality, where two persons had returned after a religious journey. “Eight members from the family of one of the two were later infected and an elderly person among them died. The second person infected eight in his neighbourhood. Similarly, a man from Badwah village was tested positive after returning from Indore. Seven others from his family too were infected.”
Khargone collector Gopal Chandra Dad said the infection is confined to a few clusters. “We could identify them with aggressive survey and screening. The situation is not likely to aggravate now.”
Officials said collectors and health department officials have been instructed to ensure compliance with lockdown instructions in the hotspot areas.
Madhya Pradesh has drawn flak for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and is among the states, where the Centre has deputed interministerial teams to probe perceived lapses in efforts to control the disease and violations of lockdown regulations.
(With input from Anand Nigam in Ujjain, Monika Pandey in Jabalpur and Aditya Purohit in Khargone)