Port Blair: Three people tested positive for COVID-19 on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Saturday, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the Union Territory to nine, officials said.
All of them had gone to Delhi to attend a religious programme and returned to Port Blair via Kolkata on March 24, they said. They are undergoing treatment at the GB Pant Hospital here, officials said.
They were transported to the hospital directly from the airport after they showed coronavirus-like symptoms and did not get in contact with locals, officials said.
A group of over 10 people went to Visakhapatnam in February on a religious tour, according to the nodal officer for COVID-19 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands Avijit Roy.
From there, they took a train to Nizamuddin in Delhi on March 16 and reached the national capital on March 18. Some of them returned to Port Blair on March 24, he said.
The local administration has started the process of contact-tracing, officials said, adding that passengers of the two flights on which the patients travelled, the policemen and the medical team who screened them at the airport and also the staff of the ambulances that transported them to the hospital have been asked to get quarantined.
The deputy commissioner of the South Andaman district has formed 75 teams for contact-tracing. The teams, comprising officials of the Rural
Development Department and the Department of Panchayati Raj and Revenue Development, cover 25 houses assigned to each of them.
Similar committees have been constituted in North and Middle Andaman and Car Nicobar districts.
A 48-bed isolation ward has been set up at the GB Pant Hospital, besides a 15-bed facility at the INHS Dhanvantri and a similar unit at PHC Chouldari for treatment.
Isolation facilities have been created in government guest houses and private hotels for asymptomatic suspicious cases, officials said, adding that there are 280 rooms with attached bathrooms for such cases.
The islands, home to several vulnerable tribes, have been put on alert following the COVID-19 cases. The administration urged the islanders to stay alert and follow the guidelines for fighting the deadly virus.