MUMBAI: One more person from the Dubai group of 40 travellers has tested positive for coronavirus after initially testing negative. With this, the group alone has contributed to nearly 40% of Maharashtra’s 40 positive cases as on Monday.
The state is currently observing nearly 300 contacts of these travellers, who landed in Mumbai on March 1 and dispersed to 10 districts, including Belagavi in Karnataka.
A state official said that 40 people had gone on a tour of Dubai and Abu Dhabi on February 24 and returned on March 1. Of them, 15 have tested positive so far, while 22 have tested negative. The remaining three from Karnataka continue to be asymptomatic and under home quarantine. Soon after a couple from Pune tested positive on March 9 — the first cases in the state — the government initiated a mammoth contact tracing exercise spanning multiple districts and cities.
On Monday, a 50-year-old woman from Yavatmal tested positive after she had tested negative on March 12. This woman is from the group of 40 people that had been to Dubai. Her latest samples were sent to Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur on Saturday evening, which came back positive.
This is arguably the first case in India in which a suspect who had earlier tested negative developed symptoms afterwards and then tested positive. Epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate said the woman’s 17-year-old son, a student, had previously tested positive and was undergoing treatment in Pune. While the son had travelled to Pune after reaching Mumbai, his family went on to board another domestic flight to reach their destination.
Dr Anup Kumar Yadav, commissioner, National Health Mission, said the health department has traced all the 40 people and their contacts, and many have been kept in isolation. In fact, the spread from this cluster has prompted the state to request the Centre to include Dubai, the UAE and the US in the list of countries that are under surveillance. “We are yet to hear from them on it, though,” a senior official said.
The officials added that Dubai was not one of the countries where passengers were screened from, and therefore they left the airport without any checks.
The other cluster under the state’s close observation is a group of 10 people from Navi Mumbai, who have returned from the Philippines. So far three have tested positive.-Times Of India