Telangana's Karimnagar sees 8 COVID-19 positive cases

COVID-19: Telangana's Karimnagar reports eight COVID-19 positive cases; city under lockdown

Representative image. (AFP Photo)

Karimnagar, a town 160 km from Hyderabad in north Telangana, woke up on Thursday to the news of lockdown after eight foreigners who roamed its streets for at least two days have tested COVID-19 positive.

The eight are not locals but evangelists from faraway Indonesia, which has reported 19 COVID-19 deaths, and 227 infected persons.

According to Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajender, the 10-member religious group had landed in New Delhi last week. They took the AP Sampark Kranti Express and reached Ramagundam on 14 March. The group then travelled in a private vehicle to Karimnagar where they stayed in a Mosque for two nights.

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According to local reports, the group only went for COVID-19 screening on directions of the town police. Once revealed they could be infected, the 10 were isolated to the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad on March 16.

While one among them (P5 of Telangana) tested positive on March 17, health authorities divulged seven more of the group as affected on late Wednesday night.

The high concentration of cases in a town of over three lakh population jolted the state and district administration, which swung into action.   

At least a dozen locals, who came in contact with the group, were also shifted to Hyderabad for tests.

The town is virtually locked down from Thursday morning. Since the group stayed in a mosque near the collectorate, the area within a three-kilometre radius is kept on surveillance.

"Hundred medical teams are formed to scan the 10,000 houses in the area. The group has visited three mosques in the town. We are tracing all those persons (who came in contact with those tested positive). Two hundred isolation beds are prepared, including 100 at the Karimnagar government hospital," Civil Supplies Minister Gangula Kamalakar said.

Kamalakar, also a local MLA deployed in the town to monitor the situation, is appealing the public to stay indoors and keep a check on their health condition.  

The government of Telangana had written to the Railways for details of passengers in S9 coach of the train in which the Indonesian group travelled. Rajender claimed that they have identified all and informed respective state governments in case of non-Telangana passengers.

Along with these eight foreigners, COVID-19 cases in Telangana are now at 13.

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