Dehradun: The return of migrants has caused an abrupt rise in the number COVID-19 cases in Uttarakhand with 17 people testing positive for the disease since the process started 10 days ago.
All those who tested positive for the disease since the migrants began returning to the hill state are those returning from either Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana or Delhi, a health department official here said.
Over the last 10 days, 17 new positive cases have been reported in Uttarakhand, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 82.
“All the new cases are of people who have returned to the state from outside,” state health department spokesman J C Pandey said.
The increased threat of coronavirus caused by the influx of migrants from different parts of the country, including highly-infected zones, is posing a new challenge to the state government.
“Ever since the migrants began to return to the state, COVID-19 cases have shot up. In the last 10 days, 17 new coronavirus positive cases have surfaced,” DG (law and order) Ashok Kumar said.
“In view of the increased threat caused by the migrants returning from worst-hit states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, people need to be extra careful during the next fortnight and strictly follow the guidelines to protect themselves from the deadly disease,” he said.
According to an official data, 82,834 out of more than 2 lakh migrants, have returned from outside so far and the process is going to continue for the next 10-15 days.
“People cannot afford to lower their guard as the real threat begins now with the influx of migrants from highly infected states to the rural areas. The influx is going to continue for at least a fortnight,” Pandey said.
Asking people to be careful, he urged them to avoid going out unless very necessary and wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Those returning from outside are being mandatorily quarantined for 14 days either at home or a facility, and have been warned of action under the Epidemic Act and Disaster Management Act if they violate quarantine rules and run away to mingle with locals, the DG Law and Order said.
All this is being done for the safety of people by keeping the increased threat at bay, he said.
Random sampling of migrants is being carried out under four different categories, including those above 65 years of age, those returning from hospitals outside the state and those who have returned during the third phase of the lockdown, Health Secretary Nitesh Jha said.
The random sampling of migrants returning by road is being carried out on the border checkposts set up in Udhamsingh Nagar, Pauri , Nainital, Haridwar and Dehradun districts.