BHOPAL: Low compliance with norms including mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene during the recent festive season might well have opened the floodgates for a second surge of COVID-19 cases in the country’s cleanest city Indore – which also happens to be the COVID-19 capital of Madhya Pradesh.
With 31 of the 72-strong staff of a premier jewellery showroom located in the MG Road area of Indore testing positive for COVID-19 over the last two days, the health department in the city is apprehensive about a second surge.
While 20 staff tested positive on Tuesday, 11 others tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, making the health department fear a similar situation at other big showrooms in the city.
“Owners of the jewellery showroom, which witnessed frenzied buying during the recent festive season, contacted the health department recently for COVID-19 sampling of their staff, as some of them were showing symptoms of the infection. 72 staff members of the big showroom were tested for the virus, out of which 31 have tested positive,” Indore district’s chief medical and health officer (CMHO) Dr Pravin Jadia told The New Indian Express on Thursday.
“We’ll now embark on contact tracing of the showroom’s staff, who’ve tested positive. The bills and books of accounts of the showroom will be checked to trace who visited the showroom during the last 5-7 days, after which the symptom tracking and subsequent COVID-19 testing of those contacts will take place. It will be a long exercise, as many people had visited the concerned showroom ahead of Diwali,” Dr Jadia said.
“Fumigation of the entire showroom will happen, only after which it will start operating again,” he maintained.
According to health department sources, with Indore being one of the biggest jewellery markets of central India by housing several big showrooms and the big Sarafa market (which comprises several small silver ornament shops), the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases due to an unsafe buying spree during Diwali cannot be ruled out.
“The case of 31 staff members of a single jewellery showroom in Indore testing COVID-19 positive is worrying and could well have been replicated at other jewellery showrooms, most of which reported a large number of visitors ahead of Diwali,” a senior health department official feared.
Since March 2020, Indore has been the COVID-19 capital of MP and has also been among the top cities in the country, which have reported maximum cases and deaths due to the deadly infection. The daily positive cases count which had peaked to 490-plus cases in August-end, started declining after mid-September and had reached double digit figures till November 9. But since November 9, Indore has again started reporting three digit daily positive cases, with 178 and 194 cases having been reported during the last two days.
Till date Indore has reported over 36,055 positive cases and 719 deaths, which forms around 20% of the over 1.86 lakh-plus positive cases and 23% of the over 3100 deaths reported so far in Madhya Pradesh. However, 33,304 patents have recovered in Indore and 2032 cases still remain positive, which means a strong 92%-plus COVID-19 recovery rate in the city.