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Will Khurda district emerge as Odisha’s ‘Kasargod’ in coming days?

Covid-19 history shows it first takes singles. Acquires speed by week 7 & 8. Kasargod turned nCoV epicentre in country owing to protocol violations & large scale return from Gulf countries, like Khurda district

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Bhubaneswar: The Kasargod  novel coronavirus telltale signs are conspicuous in Khurda district – the state headquarters. Already, the district, especially smart City Bhubaneswar, has recorded three Covid-19 positives in a span of 11 days.

The big trait of novel coronavirus is it scores in singles in the first week, the run-rate of infection rises sharply in the week number seven and eight. The trend is witnessed globally and in the country, including Kerala.

Now, spot the Kasargod signs in Odisha’s Khurda district.

Kasargod reported first case on January 31. Later, for a month, the district didn’t report any single Covid-19 case. Significantly, the first Covid-19 case was imported from Wuhan.

Things went awry for the district, when in March first week, a family who had a travel history to Italy, violated the Kerala government’s Covid-19 quarantine guidelines. They ducked the mandatory health check-ups, but kept on visiting friends and relatives.  As per reports, it was assumed that they had spread the novel coronavirus to over a dozen. This is how the Covid-19 cases in Kasrgod district scored the double digits.

The Covid-19 graph in Kasargod took an upswing in March 2nd week as hundreds of returnees from UAE reached the district. With no lockdown in place, their unhindered movement has given wings to the novel coronavirus in the district. And the outcome is Kasargod (45) district is second in Covid-19 cases in country, after Mumbai (47).

The strange similarities Khurda district share are: In all the three novel coronavirus cases reported till date in Bhubaneswar, the violation of COVID-19 protocol is clearly discernible. The transmission scope in case of P-3 is quite expansive.

Moreover, as per the data with the newly launched COVID-19 portal, over one-fourth of the foreign returnees to Odisha were from gulf countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia. And nearly 2 of every five returnees belong to Khurda district.

As the virus attains speed of transmission in India from week 7, in that scenario, post reporting of first case, the Odisha Covid-19 real situation will unfold only by mid -April.

It needs mentioning here that Kerala government has put a massive 1.1 lakh population under surveillance. But the total persons under surveillance and observation in Khurda district, including Bhubaneswar,  remains hazy.

Moreover, the number of tests conducted every day till March 26 in Odisha had been in the range of 20-30. The number of tests had increased to around 55 on March 27.

Sample the low test case scenario in Odisha.

Till 27th March, the total COVID-19 tests conducted in Odisha stood at mere 219. In contrast, the tests conducted in Kerala stood at a whopping 5,432. The tests conducted in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh stood at 360 and in J&K at 379.

Chinks in Odisha’s Covid-19 armoury : The State health department has issued an advisory to all hospitals to refer such individuals for Covid-19 tests/quarantine, who have a foreign travel history.

The missing point in the advisory: the State Health Department should have issued an advisory with an explicit reference to conduct COVID-19 test on an individual, who had returned from sources states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, UP etc, especially when they show flue like symptoms.

Lack of such explicit advisory has resulted in P-3 pushing Odisha to the perils of community transmission.  

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