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‘Super spreader’ groups not a major threat in UP, reveals govt data

By Peeyush Khandelwal, Ghaziabad
PUBLISHED ON NOV 29, 2020 11:32 PM IST

The focussed testing on possible “super spreader” groups during the festival days did not throw up alarming Covid-19 spread, said government officials quoting partial data. This has come as a relief to government agencies that feared that crowds could lead to a spike in infection.

The focussed testing was taken up cross the state from October 29 to November 12 during which specific groups of people, including auto-drivers and cycle-rickshaw drivers, beauticians and staff of malls, sweets shops, and restaurants, among others, were tested.

The highest positivity was recorded from religious places -- of the 114,976 tests, 2,438 turned positive cases (2.12%). The state health department said that they had tested 55,741 auto rickshaw drivers and found only 413 positives (0.74%), while 60,702 restaurant staff was tested and 416 (0.68%) returned positive. About 116,054 staff of malls were tested and 1025 (.88%) were found positive.

A total of 19,170,240 samples tested so far till November 29 while the total cases in UP stand at 541,873. This gives an overall sample positivity rate of about 2.82%.

Ever since the festival season in November, the state has witnessed marginal increase in number of active cases. On November 1, active cases stood at 23,323, was 23,367 on November 14 and was 24,575 on November 29.

“The results indicate that we have been able to timely isolate such people who come in contact with large number of people and can spread infection. With the results and focussed testing, we have also been able to spread awareness among people so that they understand that infection has not gone and all precautions must be taken,” said Amit Mohan Prasad, UP’s additional chief secretary (health), while adding that data for other groups was in process of compilation.

A similar focussed testing exercise in Ghaziabad during the same period tested 15,314 samples and found only 79 persons positive ( a rate of about 0.38%).

“The results indicate that there is no large-scale infection among the groups and those who tested positive were timely isolated. However, we are still keeping checks on such groups and not let them off completely. We also have post-festival focussed testing going on till November 30 and there too the positivity is less than 1%. With the figures, we have also focussed our attention to several localities like Vaishali, Indirapuram, Raj Nagar, Kavi Nagar etc which have high number of cases. There, testing and surveillance have been feed up,” said Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate.

The state officials said that it is because of the focussed testing that the spread of infection could be regulated and they are taking up every measure to control it further.

“Starting December 1 to December we have another drive coming up in which districts have been asked to plot on their maps areas having high number of cases in past 15 days. In such cluster areas they will be taking up focussed testing and targeted surveillance to check spread of infection,” Prasad, added.

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