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Andhra Pradesh, Telangana Covid-19 positive cases rise as migrants return

Out of 440 Covid-19 positive cases registered in AP since May 5, 150 were that of Telugu-speaking migrants from various states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Karnataka, said an official bulletin released by the state nodal officer for Covid-19, Arja Sreekanth, on Friday

The return of migrant Telugu-speaking labourers from other states, particularly Maharashtra, has led to in a rise of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (AP) over the last 10 days, officials said.

Out of 440 Covid-19 positive cases registered in AP since May 5, 150 were that of Telugu-speaking migrants from various states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Karnataka, said an official bulletin released by the state nodal officer for Covid-19, Arja Sreekanth, on Friday.

In the last 24 hours alone, 45 out of 102 Covid-19 positive cases reported in AP were that of migrant Telugu-speaking labourers, including 34 and 11 from Maharashtra and Rajasthan, respectively.

Official figures showed that over 8,000 migrant Telugu-speaking labourers returned to their native places. Most of them belong to Anantapur, Chittoor, Nellore, Kurnool and Kadapa districts in AP and they came from different states by special Shramik Express trains arranged by the Centre.

Andhra Pradesh special chief secretary K S Jawahar Reddy told media persons that all those who had tested Covid-19 positive have been referred to dedicated Covid-19 hospitals and others sent to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The AP government has been putting out a separate tally for Covid-19 positive migrant labourers for the last two days to make a distinction that these fresh infections are not homegrown.

“The segregation exercise will help us determine that these migrant labourers contracted SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease, in those states from where they’ve come back home,” said an official in the Covid-19 control room said.

Several vegetable vendors from AP, who visited Koyambedu vegetable market in Chennai — a Covid-19 superspreader – have tested positive, raising a cause for concern for the AP authorities.

“So far, 84 Covid-19 positive cases, including 28 in the last 24 hours, have been reported. All of them are related to those people, who had visited Chennai’s Koyambedu vegetable market. All the patients belong to Chittoor, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and Nellore,” said the state nodal officer.

In neighbouring Telangana, migrant workers, who started returning to their native places from other states, particularly from Maharashtra, have been found infected.

According to the health bulletin released by the state director of public health and family welfare, G Srinivasa Rao, on Thursday night, 42 Covid-19 positive cases were that of migrant labourers. A majority of the cases were identified among those coming from Mumbai.

State health minister Eatala Rajender said migrant workers from Telangana, who had been stuck in various states, have started returning to their native places.

“Some of them have tested Covid-19 positive. The authorities concerned should ensure that all the migrant returnees are tested and those who test positive are referred to dedicated Covid-19 hospitals without any delay,” he said.

The minister urged that accredited social health (ASHA) workers should be entrusted with the responsibility to conduct door-to-door surveys.

“All symptomatic patients should be immediately referred to a dedicated Covid-19 hospital,” he added.

Many of these migrant workers are returning to their villages on their own. “Most of these returnees are from north Telangana districts, who had gone to neighbouring Maharashtra in search of work. They may pose risk to others,” said a health department official.

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