Udupi tops State in number of cases for three days in a row

the hindu, 07-06-2020 20:37:11

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Udupi tops State in number of cases for three days in a row

People from the district working in Maharashtra are returning in big numbers

For three days in a row, Udupi district has topped in the number of COVID-19 cases reported among all the districts in the State — 92 cases on Thursday, 204 on Friday, and 121 on Saturday.

Once in green zone, the coastal district has seen a big spike since mid-May in COVID-19 cases. The district had recorded only three cases from March 29 to May 14.

The total number of people who had tested positive in the district since March has touched 889. Presently, there are 785 active cases in the district. Over 12,500 people have been tested in the district since March.

In droves

The increase in the number of cases is owing to a large number of people, who are natives of Udupi district but working in other States (mostly Maharashtra), returning to the district. Nearly 7,000 people returned in just four days — from May 11 to 14. Nearly 95% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are from Maharashtra. According to Vishu Shetty Ambalpady, a social worker, a large number of returnees worked in hotels as waiters, supervisors, managers, and cooks. People of Udupi are well-known in the restaurant business across India. There are also those working in different capacities in various factories, and industrial and other units in Mumbai. They have returned to the district in droves.

Two requests

To deal with the situation, the district administration has put two requests before the State government — first, it should permit staggered arrivals of returnees from others States, especially Maharashtra, so that it will be possible to manage the cases; and second, it should permit home quarantine for the returnees. “This is because it will be difficult to manage the institutional quarantine centres during the monsoon. The government is yet to take a decision on it,” said G. Jagadeesha, Deputy Commissioner. Presently, about 200 people are coming to the district by train daily.

To deal with the returnees, all the 158 gram panchayats have been directed to have one quarantine centre each to accommodate 50 people. The six urban local bodies in the district have been directed to have three quarantine centres each, all with a capacity of 100. Already there are about 300 quarantine centres in the district.

P.V. Bhandary, psychiatrist and social activist, said the district administration should plan well to deal with the next phase of returnees, especially with regard to the quarantine centres. “It should take more schools and choultries for quarantine centres so that proper distancing is maintained between the people there. The returnees should not be shunned; after all, they are our people,” he said.

Mr. Ambalpady said that some persons in institutional quarantine have been found roaming around and this could lead to spreading of COVID-19 in the district. “The administration should take stern action against such violations,” he said.

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