Kerala village emerges COVID-19 hotspot with nearly 200 cases

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Wayanad (Kerala) July 31 (PTI) A major coronavirus hotspot has emerged in a remote village in this district with a total of 199 people testing positive so far after eight members of two families contracted it first.

As many as 169 people tested positive in Valad ward of Thavinhal panchayath till Thursday and 30 more on Friday, taking the infection count to 199 as authorities undertook extensive screening of primary and secondary contacts since early this week, officials said.

'The panchayat has been made a containment zone since Monday and we are hopeful of containing further spread of the virus,' health department sources said.

The hilly Wayanad district has a total of 310 positive cases so far and 2,753 people are under observation.

It all began with seven members belonging to two families, related to each other, turned positive for the deadly virus last week after attending a funeral of a relative who died of COVID-19 at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital recently.

Besides, another family member who attended a wedding last week, also tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total cases in Valad to eight.

The health authorities conducted rapid antigen tests in the area after tracing the primary and secondary contacts of the eight and detected 83 positive cases on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A Thavinhal panchayat official said rigorous testing by three different groups of medical teams, comprising five doctors and paramedical staff each, made it possible to test over 250 people on Wednesday alone.

According to Health department sources, the estimated primary contacts in this area could be over 500 and the secondary contacts between 1,500 to 2,000.

Medical teams are working overtime to collect more samples for testing from all the primary and secondary contacts of the infected persons, they added.

Three entry points to the panchayat through the Periya Churam, Palchuram and Pakramthalam Churam roads had been closed by the district administration with only trucks carrying goods and essentials permitted.

On Saturday, Wayanad accounted for 124 cases out of the 1,310 fresh infections in the state, which took its tally past the 23,000 mark. PTI CORR UD VS VS VS