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Over 12,000 ‘superspreaders’ found Covid positive during focussed testing before Diwali: Data

By Peeyush Khandelwal, Ghaziabad
PUBLISHED ON NOV 30, 2020 11:39 PM IST

Focussed testing on “superspreader” groups across Uttar Pradesh before Diwali has revealed that most of the positive cases were found among the staff deployed at chemist shops, nursing homes, religious places, sweets shop, along with street vendors . The officials of the state government on Monday said that they conducted about 8,74,619 tests, of which 12,290 persons were found to be positive.

The focussed testing was carried out between October 29 and November 12, which yielded a positivity rate of about 1.41%. The highest positivity was found among the staff members of chemist shops and nursing homes, which had the positivity rate of 2.63%. A total of 62,786 tests were conducted in this group, which resulted in 1,650 positives.

Positivity rate among staff members of religious groups stood at 2.12% with 1,14,976 tests which resulted in 2,438 positive cases. Among street vendors, a total of 1,17,767 tests were conducted that revealed 2,275 positive cases with a positivity rate of 1.93%.

The positivity rate among the staffers at sweet shops was also high at about 1.82% with 1,19,143 samples being tested, out of which 2,172 people were found to be positive. The second round of focussed testing after Diwali was ordered between November 19 to November 30.

“With focussed testing, we were able to timely isolate people and prevent the further spread of infection. The groups tested during the drive were those who come in contact with a large number of people on a daily basis. All precautions must be observed till the time a vaccine becomes available,” said Amit Mohan Prasad, UP’s additional chief secretary (health).

The lowest positivity, ranging below 1%, was found among other targeted groups, such as fruit and vegetable vendors, restaurant staffers, auto drivers, beauticians, those deployed at malls, electronic shops and automobile workshops.

In Uttar Pradesh, a total of 1,93,22,658 samples have been tested since March, resulting in 5,43,888 positive cases till November 30.

“Despite a low positivity rate, the focussed testing has helped us to isolate infected people on time. This has also helped in checking the spread of infection. However, we are still taking all precautions and will keep a check on such groups in the coming days. People are also advised to take all precautions while coming in contact with such high-risk groups,” said Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate, who, on Monday, also extended the prohibitory orders in Ghaziabad till the midnight of January 20, 2021.

“We have also received fresh guidelines on Monday in which there is special focus on containment and surveillance activities. All the directions received in this regard will be strictly followed, considering the ongoing winter season. We have to deal with more cases coming in with symptoms of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness during this time,” said Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate of Ghaziabad.

UP government issues fresh containment guidelines

In fresh guidelines issued on Monday, the state government has also authorised the district administration to impose local restrictions, such as night curfew, based on local assessment in order to contain spread of Covid-19 infection.

UP chief secretary, RK Tiwari, issued the guidelines and asked officials to strictly enforce containment plan, surveillance and Covid-appropriate behaviour, including social distancing and mask discipline.

The guidelines stated that only essential services will be allowed in containment zones and strict perimeter control will be required to enforce containment. This will be followed by intensive house-to-house surveillance and testing as per protocols.

The recently issued directions have also defined that areas having one positive case will be subject to containment for a radius of 50 metres while that in form of cluster will be for 100 metre radius. It is directed that such zones will be subjected to effective surveillance and testing, apart from contact tracing.

The chief secretary has also directed that about 80% of the contacts of positive patients should ideally be traced within 72 hours of a person testing positive for Covid-19.

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