Migrants undergo thermal screened at Pune railway station. A data analysis based on the Covid-19 cases and various details uploaded on the Covid India portal shows that in the initial days when the migrants and refugees were returning to the city they had reported a higher positivity rate.(HT PHOTO)
Migrants undergo thermal screened at Pune railway station. A data analysis based on the Covid-19 cases and various details uploaded on the Covid India portal shows that in the initial days when the migrants and refugees were returning to the city they had reported a higher positivity rate.(HT PHOTO)

Migrants to Pune record high positivity rate than SARI and ILI patients

Analysis based on Covid-19 cases and details uploaded on Covid India portal
By Steffy Thevar | Hindustan Times, Pune
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2020 05:34 PM IST

Pune: A data analysis based on the Covid-19 cases and various details uploaded on the Covid India portal shows that in the initial days when the migrants and refugees were returning to the city they had reported a higher positivity rate.

The positivity rate among the migrants and refugees who returned from neighbouring city to Pune was higher than the (severe acute respiratory infection) SARI and (influenza-like illness) ILI patients found in flu clinics and who were hospitalised later.

The study also found that over 40% of the symptomatic patients found in containment zones tested positive while over 56% of the symptomatic contacts of confirmed cases also tested positive for Covid.

Pune had reported its first case on March 9 which was also the first case in the state of Covid. However, in the months of May and June, Mumbai reported a much higher surge in the number of cases than Pune. Pune rural which reported the first case and also the first case of local transmission also saw more newer cases coming in as migrants started returning to the city as most of the rural villages border the Pune-Mumbai highway.

Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer (CEO) said, “Pune rural had nominal Covid cases up until mid May, however, once the migrants started pouring in we saw newer cases coming in from the neighbouring cities, especially Mumbai, which saw a drastic rise during those months. Migrants came via road, in their own vehicles or even walking in some cases. We found that people walked the ‘kachcha rasta’ to get to their homes. Once things opened up we did not keep track of these cases as migrants or refugees.”

Dr Abhijit More, public health expert said, “The health infrastructure of the city faced huge burden as the cases started spreading faster. The city’s hospitalisation could have Maharashtra’s average contact tracing for 20-25 which in Pune was only 10 for which the civic body was also rapped by the state government. Poor contact tracing even in the beginning led to the surge due to which Pune is now the worst-affected city in the country. Also, in the initial days itself experts from WHO and also our doctors from the task force warned about the upcoming threat and its intensity, but the administration chose to ignore the facts. The current huge number is because the administration did not contact trace the international passengers or the migrants.”

The report also says that about 56% symptomatic contacts of confirmed cases tested positive for the infection while 22% of the asymptomatic contacts tested positive. Also indicating a higher prevalence in concentrated zones, the study states that about 41% of the symptomatic (ILI) patients in hotspot/ containment zones tested positive.

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