Odisha posts highest single day jump in Covid-19 cases after govt denies community transmission
From 21 cases till Saturday, the number of positive cases surged to 39 on Sunday as 16 cases were reported from Bomikhal area of the city that has been declared as a containment zone since Friday night with entry and exit points sealed.Updated: Apr 06, 2020, 00:41 IST
Odisha recorded the highest single-day surge in positive Covid-19 cases on Sunday with 18 cases being reported from the state capital Bhubaneswar hours after the government allayed fears of community transmission.
From 21 cases till Saturday, the number of positive cases surged to 39 on Sunday as 16 cases were reported from Bomikhal area of the city that has been declared as a containment zone since Friday night with entry and exit points sealed. On Friday, three brothers of the area living in a duplex apartment tested positive for Covid-19 sparking fears of community transmission after which the Bhubaneswar municipal administration sealed the area.
The state government said the number of Covid-19 positive cases have surged in Bhubaneswar during the last 3 days. “Residents of the temple city are urged to take responsibility, stay indoors and work from home. During these challenging times we request people to remain calm. All possible contacts of the Covid positive cases shall be traced, isolated and tested. That is the only way to contain further transmission. Every citizen can break the chain by staying indoors,” the Twitter handle of the state health and family welfare department said.
Incidentally, the surge in positive cases was reported hours after chief secretary Asit Tripathy clarified that community transmission of the disease is yet to happen in Odisha due to the lockdown and social distancing measures undertaken.
“As the travel history of the fifth Covid-19 positive patient, a 60-year-old man with co-morbidity conditions was not found initially, we were scared of seeing more positive cases due to community spread. But, we contained it by sealing the area and enforcing a shutdown in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Jajpur. We have actively contained the Covid-19 hotspots during the 48-hour shutdown and hope to continue the same in the near future. The local administration has been empowered to implement the closure of possible infection hotspots for containment of the deadly virus,” said Tripathy.
The chief secretary further said through door-to-door surveillance in the containment zones and meticulous planning, tracking of contacts of the positive cases, the findings established that the infection of Covid-19 was brought from outside the state.
The state government’s optimism in containing the spread of the virus, however, did not last till evening, when a staggering 16 cases were reported from Bomikhal, a small locality with more than 3000 houses. “Cluster containment has been put in place and house to house survey is going on. All suspects and contacts shall be isolated and tested. Citizens are urged not to panic and stay indoors,” health department officials said.
Doctors said the surge in community transmission may have begun in Bhubaneswar and in the next few days the cases would jump. “We are yet to see the peak. There would be more cases from clusters in newer districts. The government needs to contain areas and go for massive testing. The 3T of testing, tracing and treating is the only solution. More number of medical colleges should be roped in for tests,” said Prof Binod Patro, a professor of community medicine in AIIMS, Bhubaneswar.
Health secretary NB Dhal said state-owned Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited has been ordered to supply triple layers of surgical masks for all field workers doing surveillance work, staff providing essential services, and ambulance drivers. He asked the Municipal Commissioners, Collectors and Chief District Medical officers to provide triple layer surgical masks to people under quarantine at home and in facilities.