Already fighting a tough battle against the Covid-19 pandemic in Jahangirabad area of Bhopal, authorities have been rattled by a fresh ‘red’ zone in Jaatkhedi. A 300-metre stretch in the village has reported 38 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 11 days.
The area is densely populated on the Hoshangabad Road in the outskirts of Bhopal city. Locals claim that the first three patients contracted the virus at their employer’s house in the city. The cases multiplied soon given the narrow bylanes and choc-a-bloc spacing of houses. The residents of the affected locality are employed as helps in several houses and some work as labourers in the city.
On Friday, collector Tarun Pithode and DIG Irshad Wali visited the area to yake stock of the situation, and distributed soaps and sanitisers among locals.
The area was notified as a containment zone a few days ago, following which 38 cases were reported. One of the people to have tested positive is a newly-wed woman who was confirmed coronavirus positive on the third day in her in-laws’ home in Jaatkhedi. She was immediately admitted to AIIMS in Bhopal and 32 people from the marriage party were placed under quarantine.
The groom’s family, however, has contested the administration’s claims, saying the bride had tested negative and that members of the marriage party were also “healthy”. An FIR was also lodged against the family for exceeding the permitted count of wedding party members
A local grocery shop owner is also said to have carried the infection from Jahangirabad area, a ‘red’ zone, while sourcing supplies. The administration, however, has accepted that there was some “confusion” in the case.
The health department, meanwhile, has ramped up sample collection and is aiming at covering around 1,000 locals. Two different teams are working in the area which has a 2,000-strong population. Volunteers, under the supervision of policemen, keep ration packets at the doorsteps of the locals every day.
Locals claim that houses here have one or two rooms with 6-8 members which was the primary reason for the infection to spread so rapidly. On Friday, six members of a family had tested positive. The administration is also shifting locals to safer areas.
SDOP Anil Tripathi said that Jaatkhedi houses around 1,000 people in 300 families, and that in last few days 750 have been screened and 420 samples have been collected. In all, 130 locals, the first contacts of 38 patients, have been quarantined.