10 members of endangered Andaman tribe test positive for COVID

Hyderabad: Ten members of the endangered Greater Andamanese tribe have tested positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed on Thursday. While six of them have recovered and are currently under home quarantine, the rest are undergoing treatment at a local medical facility.

Four of them living on an island were found to be infected last week when tests were conducted after six members who lived in the city of Portblair tested positive last month.

Andamans are the home to five vulnerable tribes: the Jarawas, North Sentinelese, Great Andamanese, Onge, and Shompen. While the Jaravas and the North Sentinelese have not integrated with the mainland, the rest of them have regular connections. 

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The endangered Great Andamanese tribe consists of just 53 people, who live on the Strait Island of North and Middle Andaman administrative district. The Greater Andamanese numbered more than 5,000 when the British colonised the islands in the 1850s. Suffering from the long term impact of the diseases introduced by the occupation, their numbers dwindled.

The eastern archipelago of Andamans and Nicobar has recorded 2,985 COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths since its first infection was detected in early June.

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