BREAKING NEWS

How AP Secretariat is now an Emerging Hotspot for COVID-19

The Andhra Pradesh Secretariat in Amaravati is turning out to be an emerging hotspot for coronavirus with one more employee testing positive as 141 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the state aggregate to 4,112. Meanwhile the toll increased by three, taking the total deaths to 71 in the state. 
 
The rise in cases is suspected to have been due to the super-spreaders from East Godavari and Guntur districts along with those coming to the state from other parts of the country.
After two staffers from the General Administration Department and Agriculture Department, respectively, tested positive for coronavirus in the Secretariat, another employee from the Revenue Principal Secretary was found infected. A Special Protection Force constable on duty at the Legislature building, situated on the same campus, also tested positive for COVID-19, following which the Legislature authorities have asked the staff to work from home.
 
As per the government bulletin, a total of 141 new cases of COVID-19 were added in the state as on Thursday, taking the total cases to 4,112. As many as 43 of the new cases were those who came to the state from different parts of the country.
 
Additionally, as The Better Andhra reported, the 53-year-old person who is identified as one of the state’s super spreaders, from Gollala Mamidada village near Kakinada, also seems to have been the cause for a spike.
 
“It was the only case of COVID-19 death in our district and, yes, nearly 116 people have been infected through him. We have conducted over 7,000 tests in the village so far but the disease has been contained,” East Godavari Collector informed. The primary and secondary contacts of the deceased person were screened and 116 cases turned positive as most people infected are expected to be from other districts.
 
In Guntur city, a vegetable market on Yetukuru Road was shut down after 26 coronavirus cases were detected a couple of days ago. The Virus apparently spread from a wholesale trader who frequented other markets as well. “We have now closed down the market and started screening the traders as well as the contacts,” a senior district official said.

Confirmation of COVID-19 cases in the wholesale market sent a scare as the situation is likened to the one in the Koyambedu wholesale market in Tamil Nadu, from where hundreds of cases originated.
 
With more cases emerging, the Secretariat employees are now demanding that they be allowed to work from home in view of the virus spread. The state government had allowed the functioning of Secretariat from last week after the fourth phase of lockdown ended.
 
Most of the staff returned from Hyderabad after a gap of two months following the government's directive for a 100% attendance. The case of Secretariat emerging as the new virus outbreak zone indicates laxity in government’s response as well as its adherence to preventive measures such as social distancing and wearing of masks. 
 
Given that the Chief Minister himself had earlier indicated and made “very light” of the Coronavirus situation across the world as well as that in India, it looks like the state needs to act strictly on this swiftly before it gets difficult to contain the transmission. 

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