PORT BLAIR: Five persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Friday, taking the total number of such cases in the Union Territory to six, officials said.
All of them went to Delhi to attend a religious programme and returned to Port Blair via Kolkata on March 24, they said.
They are undergoing treatment at the GB Pant Hospital here, officials said.
They were transported to the hospital directly from the airport after they showed coronavirus-like symptoms and did not get in contact with locals, officials said.
Altogether 1,592 people have been put under home isolation, while 78 are in special quarantine premises, Chief Secretary Chetan Sanghi said.
The patients are all in the age group of 23 to 64 years, he said.
The nodal officer for COVID-19 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands Avijit Roy said a group of over 10 people went to Visakhapatnam in February on a religious tour.
From there, they took a train to Nizamuddin in Delhi on March 16 and reached the national capital on March 18.
Some of them returned to Port Blair on March 24 and of them six tested positive, he said, The test reports of a few are still awaited, Roy said.
The local administration has started the process of contact tracing, officials said, adding that passengers of the two flights on which the patients travelled, the policemen and the medical team who screened them at the airport and also the staff of the ambulances that transported them to the hospital have been asked to go on quarantine.
Local MP and Congress leader Kuldeep Rai Sharma said he has also gone on home-quarantine as he returned from Delhi on the same day as these patients.
The condition of all the patients are normal and they are responding to the queries of the contact tracing team, officials said.
The deputy commissioner of the South Andaman district has formed 75 teams for contact tracing.
The teams, comprising officials of the Rural Development Department, Panchayati Raj and Revenue Development, cover 25 houses assigned to them.
Similar committees have been constituted in North and Middle Andaman and Car Nicobar districts.
A 48-bed isolation ward has been set up at the GB Pant Hospital, besides a 15-bed facility at the INHS Dhanvantri and a similar unit at PHC Chouldari for treatment.
Isolation facilities have been created in government guest houses and private hotels for asymptomatic suspicious cases, officials said, adding that there are 280 rooms with attached bathrooms for such cases.
The administration urged the islanders to stay alert and follow the guidelines in fighting the deadly virus.