Vijayawada

Bracing for a mass outbreak

Nearly three weeks ago, the city recorded its first case of COVID-19 when a youth, who had returned from Paris, tested positive on March 21.

With that, the city has joined several places across the world affected by the pandemic.

While the Paris returnee’s family members tested negative, another youth who returned from the United States to his home in Gayatri Nagar in the city tested positive for coronavirus four days into the lockdown, prompting authorities to step up their vigil.

The very next day, a 28-year-old youth who had returned from Sweden tested positive for the virus. He hails from Ayodhya Nagar area.

The fourth case was reported from the densely populated Ranigari Thota area of Krishnalanka in the city. The fact that the 65-year-old man is a ‘panipuri’ vendor came as a shock to authorities and locals.

While he returned from Mecca in the second week of March, he tested positive for coronavirus only on March 28.

Later, a 65-year-old woman from Old Rajarajeswari Pet who is a close contact of a person who returned from New Delhi.

After it was revealed that the Tablighi Jamaat’s meeting in Delhi has become a hotspot for the outbreak, authorities started testing all those connected to it and the city reported the majority of the district’s 35 positive cases and the State’s first Covid-19 death. Five of the cases are from a single-family in Kummaripalem, the same area where a person succumbed to the disease. In what is good news amidst the spike in case is the first two patients of the city have recovered and have been discharged a few days ago.

Lockdown

All the areas surrounding the houses of these patients have been declared as containment zones, where the lockdown is being implemented strictly.

With the possibility of a mass outbreak due to the huge number of cases, particularly among those connected to the Delhi event, officials are bracing to tackle the situation in multiple ways from ensuring proper lockdown to the arrangement of isolation and quarantine wards for treatment of positive patients.

To ensure that people do not step out of their houses or travel longer distances for essentials, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation has roped in local grocery stores to deliver groceries at the doorsteps by taking orders over the phone. Thousands of orders were placed so far indicating that many families could get groceries without having to venture out during the lockdown. On the other hand, four rythu bazaars were decentralised to 28 locations across the city.

In addition, it has been delivering vegetables at doorsteps in some areas besides operating mobile Rythu Bazaars in RTC city buses.

Coming to the rescue of the destitute and migrant labourers, the civic body has arranged accommodation at two schools and is looking to set up more centres for them in other locations. People at such centres are being provided with medicines, food, newspapers and other facilities.

The civic body officials have been monitoring the checkpoints set up around all the containment zones along with the police. Sanitisation of the areas at a massive level with the help of fire engines and drones is underway. VMC has brought in disinfection tunnels at rythu bazaars.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 12:32:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/bracing-for-a-mass-outbreak/article31293160.ece

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