VISAKHAPATNAM: With COVID-19 cases being reported in Koyyuru, Munchingput and Chintapalle, the tribal residents of Visakhapatnam agency areas are gearing up for a self-imposed lockdown. Traders will shut shops by 1 pm though they are allowed to function till 9 pm. They point out that no cases were reported in the region when stricter restrictions were enforced between March 25 and the first week of June.
Adivasi JAC leaders, who held emergency meetings in Araku, Chintapalle and other areas, urged the authorities to set up checklists and use thermal scanners to screen visitors entering agency areas. They said people in these regions are prone to contracting seasonal fevers during the monsoon, and an added risk of COVID-19 would result in a grim situation. JAC leaders Rama Rao Dora and Elia urged the authorities to cancel weekly shandies at GK Veedhi, Pedabayalu, Araku and G Madugula in the agency area, and said the Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC) should set up stalls with essential supplies.
They also asked the public to practise physical distancing and wear mask, and said violators would be fined. At the Chintapalle mandal office, a notice was put up asking people to visit the ward and village secretariats instead due to the COVID-19 risk.
Meanwhile, Araku MP G Madhavi urged YRSC MP Vijayasai Reddy to instruct officials to urgently take steps to check the spread of the virus. She said medical camps should be conducted in agency areas as there are chances of seasonal diseases during the rainy season.
People of several hamlets in Munchingput and Koyyuru have cut down trees and used them to block roads to prevent vehicles from entering their villages.
They also do not allow unknown people in. After a COVID-19 case was reported in Japparu of Jolaput Panchayat in Munchingput mandal, 23 of the infectee’s contacts were shifted to a quarantine centre.
While eight of them tested negative, the results of the others are yet to arrive. In GK Veedhi too a lockdown is in place, with people staying indoors and roads wearing a deserted look. Health officials are spraying sodium hypochlorite solution and bleaching powder in areas where cases are reported.
The Chintapalle police later removed the felled trees used to block main roads in Chintapalle, Antarla, Mallavaram and other villages. Araku pours sankshema Sangham decided to observe lockdown in Araku valley. Officials cancelled weekly shandies at Araku, Munchingput and other places on Friday.