Just a few days back, the Chief Minister laughed off the virus prescribing ‘Paracetamol’ even as Opposition leader N Chandrababu expressed serious concern to Covid-19. Jagan called it a hoax. Today, the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread rapidly in Andhra Pradesh, infecting more than 303 people even as the government tries to slow the spread by enforcing lockdown and physical distancing guidelines. On Monday, AP reported 37 new positive corona cases all linked to Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin.
AP’s surging infection rates are propelled by a startling number of cases in Kurnool which continued to top the virus tally in the state. The district reported 18 new cases taking its tally to 74 and triggering alarm bells in the government and the general public. Till Saturday, the district reported only four cases. Kurnool has now become the fulcrum of attention amid the Tablighi Jamaat episode with a majority of the congregation attendees hailing from this region in Andhra Pradesh. The AP government has estimated that more than 1,000 people from the state might have attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Markaz in Nizamuddin. In Rayalaseema alone, at least 150 people who were tested positive for the virus have been linked to Tablighi Jamaat congregation.
The State government has placed Kurnool on a high alert and declared 24-hour curfew in Nandyal. The state government has directed the district officials to strictly implement all the guidelines keeping in view the surge in coronavirus positive cases in the last few days. The district administration has intensified contact tracing since most of the positive cases were identified to be Jamaat returnees. Nellore reported 18 new cases, the total number of cases stand at 52, Kadapa reported four new cases pushing its total to 21.
The state government had attributed the spurt in Covid-19 cases to the large numbers of people from AP who returned homes after attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. In a recent video conference with cabinet colleagues, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had appealed to the people to refrain from blaming any particular community for the spread of the virus in the state.
With a sudden spike in positive cases of corona in AP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called up the Chief Minister and enquired about the measures being initiated by the state government to contain the spread of the contagion.
TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu believes that AP still isn’t testing enough people to detect the outbreak’s true spread.As corona cases soar past 303 in AP with around 34 new cases reported on Monday, he said the state government should ramp up testing of coronavirus cases to detect if there were more cases that are probably going unreported. “Not conducting medical tests is not a good sign. This will prove to be detrimental to the people as the virus will spread if the government tries to under report or remain complacent in conducting medical tests,” he said. Naidu said the government’s response has been scattered and passive with hospitals running low on personal protective equipment and ventilators for patients.