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Covid-19: ST Panel Seeks Report from Andaman & Nicobar Admin As 10 Indigenous Tribe Members Test Positive

There are six notified Scheduled Tribes in the archipelago - Nicobarese, Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Onge and Shompen. (REUTERS/Sucheta Das)

There are six notified Scheduled Tribes in the archipelago - Nicobarese, Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Onge and Shompen. (REUTERS/Sucheta Das)

According to the archipelago's administration, 10 members of the tribe, which lives on the Strait Island, contracted the deadly virus recently. There are only 59 surviving members of the tribe.

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on Monday expressed concern over the spread of COVID-19 infection among members of the dwindling Great Andamanese tribe and sought a factual report from the Andaman and Nicobar administration within two weeks.

According to the archipelago's administration, 10 members of the tribe, which lives on the Strait Island, contracted the deadly virus recently. There are only 59 surviving members of the tribe.

Citing a newspaper report, the commission said, "Ten members of the Great Andamanese tribe have tested positive for coronavirus, which is a matter of concern about the safety of the group and other indigenous people on the remote archipelago."

"Keeping in view the seriousness of the matter, it is requested that a detailed factual report along with action taken by the administration on the issue be sent to the commission within a period of two weeks," it said in a communication to the chief secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

After six members of the tribe, who had travelled to Port Blair, the regions' capital, for work, tested positive for the virus, a health team travelled to Strait Island recently to carry out tests of the remaining members. Out of 37 samples tested, four more from the tribe were found to be positive, according to Health Department Deputy Director and Nodal Officer Avijit Roy.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands' COVID-19 tally stands at 3,104, while 2,586 people have recovered from the disease. The archipelago has so far recorded 45 coronavirus deaths.

There are six notified Scheduled Tribes in the archipelago - Nicobarese, Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Onge and Shompen.

Barring Nicobarese, all are recognized as particularly vulnerable tribal groups, characterised by declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and economic backwardness.


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