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Covid-19: Officials suspect community transmission in Telangana | Published: 25th March 2020 | Posted Date: Wednesday 25th March 2020 05:28 PM

Motorists being barricaded at Erragadda for violating lockdown restrictions on Tuesday.

Hyderabad: Public health workers, surveillance officials and doctors involved in the response to contain coronavirus fear that community transmission of the virus has started, at least in a few pockets of the State.

Exponential rise in Covid-19 positive cases among people who returned to Hyderabad from affected countries and chances of them infecting the local population is a major risk factor. The regions that are most at risk of community transmission include Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Rangareddy, Sangareddy, Medchal, Bhadradri Kothagudem and Karimnagar.

There are large groups of foreign travellers who are isolated in their houses under the mandatory 14-days home-quarantine across the Greater Hyderabad region. A large number of them hail from districts and have travelled to their native towns to live with their families, which has increased the risk of transmission in districts too.

By March 22, close to 200 persons with travel history to coronavirus affected countries were under home quarantine and being monitored by the medical and health officials in Hyderabad alone. The Health Minister, Etela Rajender on several occasions said that nearly 20,000 persons from foreign countries returned to the State.

“All of them are potential carriers of virus and there is always a chance that they might have transmitted or infected others. That’s the reason why, the State government is insisting on lockdown and mandatory home quarantine,” health officials said.

A long haul

When will the entire coronavirus outbreak come to an end in Telangana? While it’s difficult to hazard a guess for any public health official, the State government authorities are now preparing themselves to fight the coronavirus scare for the next 6 to 9 months.

“We have not yet seen it peaking in the country. The immediate need is to completely stop or slowing down the virus. The strategy is of suppression that involves aggressive or extreme social distancing measures, which will also reduce overcrowding in hospitals,” official said.

H1N1 experience

Surveillance officers who were involved in fight against H1N1 outbreak in 2009 pointed out that community transmission is quite difficult to prevent. “In 2009, we tried our best through aggressive screening at airports. However, the ailment spread into the community and became endemic,” they said.



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