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Agra model of COVID-19 containment fails as the City of Taj breaches 700-mark

The spurt in the cases is being attributed to non-cooperation by Tablighi Jamat members who had returned from Markaz at Nizamuddin in a large number to Agra and hid inside the city mosques.

Published: 09th May 2020 04:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2020 08:32 AM   |  A+A-

Lockdown, taj mahal, coronavirus

A man feeds birds on the banks of River Yamuna during a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus near the historic Taj Mahal in Agra. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The crucial case of Agra witnessing an unprecedented spurt in COVID-19 cases breaching the 700-mark with 36 more people testing positive for the deadly virus on Saturday is a major cause of concern not only for the state authorities but Centre as well.

The merciless march of the deadly virus in the City of Taj has made the Centre to get a direct feedback from residents of the worst-hit district of Uttar Pradesh rather than relying on district administration and state machinery.

Taking the initiative, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri called up vice president of Tourism Guild of Agra, Rajeev Saxena on Friday evening. As per sources, Puri took a first-hand account from Saxena about the situation of the spread of coronavirus in Agra, which contributes a major chunk of revenue through tourism.

Moreover, the Agra model, which had drawn all-round appreciation in the initial days of the first lockdown for containing the number of coronavirus-positive case effectively by sealing the affected areas and enforcing the lockdown, is not yielding desired results now.

The district, with 706 cases on Saturday, has so far seen 23 deaths due to COVID-19 and at least 303 people have recovered after getting infected with the deadly disease, said district magistrate PN Singh. he added that sampling in hotspots was continuing at a brisk pace and currently, 380 active cases were
convalescing in the hospitals.

However, such a huge spurt in the cases is being attributed to non-cooperation by the members of Tablighi Jamat who had returned from Markaz at Nizamuddin in a large number to Agra and hid inside the city mosques.

The new cases were mostly from the 44 hotspots and those who had come in contact with some infected persons. The district health department has so far collected 8,835 samples.

Agra had reported its first case of the shoe merchant with a foreign travel history on March 2. It was followed by his five family members but after that, the rate of infliction in the Taj city declined and the curve had nearly flattened when the Jamatis started testing positive in large numbers.

Moreover, the casual approach of a few private hospitals also contributed to the spike by hiding the information of inflictions among doctors, nurses and other apra medical staff in big number.

Now the virus has made its way to district jail as well where an inmate serving a life term had tested positive on Thursday.  Owing to the sealing of a number of COIVD hospitals with health staff testing positive in Agra, the district was left with limited options to cater to the COVID-19 patients and the infliction started spreading to 10-11 adjoining districts in the division.

In Firozabad, the tally has climbed to 174, while in Mathura two new cases have been admitted to the district hospital. The number of cases has gone up to 38 in the holy city which continues to see a drought of pilgrims as a result of the lockdown.

The Agra administration on Saturday announced new quarantine centres for the incoming migrant labourers who will be required to spend 14 days before entering villages.

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