“An extensive survey of more than 20 lakh people was carried out and we identified people with influenza-like symptoms,” said Singh. (Representational Image)
Seventeen people have recovered from the COVID-19 infection in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, which had emerged as a hotspot for the outbreak last month, and nine of them have been discharged from hospital, state officials said Friday.
The district, which had topped the state’s coronavirus chart with 26 cases and two deaths, has not reported any fresh case since March 30, officials said.
“This has been possible because of heavy containment and working in coordination with the district administration, which implemented the curfew in totality. An extensive survey of more than 20 lakh people was carried out and we identified people with influenza-like symptoms,” Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Rohit Kumar Singh, told The Indian Express.
Singh said the 17 who recovered were treated “with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), Tamiflu and HIV drugs”.
“Among the 17 people who have recovered, nine have tested negative for coronavirus thrice,” said Bhilwara District Collector Rajendra Bhatt. These nine patients were discharged Friday and directed to stay in home quarantine for 14 days.
However, the administration is not taking any chance and has decided to extend the curfew imposed in the district by 10 days till April 13. “During this period, even shops of essential commodities such as groceries and medicines will remain closed, and goods will be delivered at the doorstep of residents. All that the public needs to do is to call the helpline and tell us about their requirement. Vegetables will be supplied only twice during this 10-day-period,” said Bhatt.
“We don’t want to lose this advantage because of one lapse, and that is why this even more intense 10-day-long curfew has been imposed because this period is critical,” said ACS Singh.
According to a March 26 report by the District Collector’s office, the first positive case was reported on March 19 at a private hospital where a doctor tested positive. Soon, the hospital became an epicentre of the outbreak with around 17 people, all of them hospital staff and patients, testing positive by March 26.
The outbreak emerged as a massive crisis for the Rajasthan government as the doctors, before testing positive, had communicated with a long list of people, including nursing staff and patients. But on Friday, officials said the last person to test positive in the district was a 40-year-old OPD patient of the hospital on March 30.
The district had also witnessed two deaths — of patients aged 73 and 60, respectively — in the fortnight since the first case was reported. However, the state government has maintained that the cause of death was not COVID-19 but underlying medical conditions, such as kidney failure and high blood pressure, for which they were already undergoing treatment.
In order to control the outbreak, the district administration had imposed a “complete curfew” and, along with the health department, launched a massive drive to track all the people who had came in contact with the infected doctors and other staff of the private hospital.
By March 22, a list of 498 people from five states — Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat — was compiled. These were patients who had visited the hospital for treatment since the time when the staff got infected.
Official documents show that in the next five days — between March 22 and 27 — 4.35 lakh houses and 22 lakh people of Bhilwara, which has an estimated population of 30 lakh, were surveyed.
The March 26 report notes that 6,445 people, who were suspected to have been infected, were kept at home quarantine. “After the screening, we continued to track the suspected persons with influenza-like symptoms through the help of geographical information system (GIS) as well,” said ACS Singh.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines