Now, main challenge is to trace secondary contacts in Telangana

A queue at SBI to collect ₹1,500 per family by the government at Mallepally on Thursday.

A queue at SBI to collect ₹1,500 per family by the government at Mallepally on Thursday.  

Enforcing lockdown at all containment zones a big task for the police

Tracing all those who had attended religious congregations like Tablighi Jamaat outside the State was the main task of Telangana police for the past three weeks. Not any more.

Identifying secondary contacts of all COVID-19 positive cases and enforcing lockdown at all hot-spot or containment zones is the challenge staring at them, now. “The next two weeks of lockdown are crucial in checking further spread of the virus and all our efforts should be aimed in ensuring as little movement of people as possible,” a senior police officer observed.

Also read | COVID-19: Contact tracing, a crucial exercise

After the death of a Tablighi Jamaat returnee came to light, the entire intelligence network in the State was put on high alert. Everyone associated with the network was assigned the task of tracing people who returned to the State from the TJ meeting.

In a few days, intelligence teams assisted by respective local police traced almost all such persons, details of some of them were missing though. Then came the alert about persons who went from the State on a visit to Deoband in Sahasranpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Also read | Easter festivities and celebrations across Telangana a subdued affair

“Normally, it is a circuit tour of Deoband, Ajmer and Markaz, for some though the number is far less compared to the total number of participants at the TJ meeting,” an Intelligence officer said.

But it is already 24 days since the lockdown was announced, he said.

“Any person who had attended meetings outside the State and contracted the virus would show symptoms and most likely test positive,” a medical official said. So, the relevance and importance of tracing people who returned to the State after participating in such meetings is lost now.

Now, the main job of police is to identify and analyse the movements of secondary contacts of a person testing positive. “Primary or close contacts of the person (mainly his family members) are immediately quarantined and their samples collected,” he said.

Yet, some baffling cases are making the job difficult. Like the ones in which the authorities were unable to ascertain from whom a person contracted the virus. There are cases who had no travel history or no family member being positive and yet, they were tested COVID-19 positive. “Unless we spot how they contracted the virus and restrict the movement of that person, controlling its spread is difficult. And that is our main job now,” police said.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 9:01:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/now-main-challenge-is-to-trace-secondary-contacts/article31360063.ece

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