VEG­ETABLE MAR­KETS IN HARYANA EMERGE AS NEW HOT­BEDS OF CON­TA­GION

CAP­I­TAL CON­NECT Trade with Delhi mandi im­port­ing in­fec­tion through hu­mans and raw stock: Jha­j­jar civil sur­geon

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - Hi­ten­der Rao n hrao@hin­dus­tan­times.com

CHANDI­GARH: Veg­etable mar­kets in Haryana are emerg­ing as the new hot­beds of Covid-19 in­fec­tion in the state.

Health au­thor­i­ties have at­trib­uted the re­cent surge in cases em­a­nat­ing from the veg­etable mar­kets in Jha­j­jar, Ba­hadur­garh and Sonepat to in­ten­sive real-time re­verse tran­scrip­tion poly­merase chain re­ac­tion (RT-PCR) test­ing of peo­ple in­volved in veg­etable trad­ing.

As per the sta­tis­tics, 54 out of 131 per­sons (about 41%) who tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19 in the last four days have veg­etable trad­ing con­nec­tion. Out of 54 pos­i­tive cases, 43 were from Jha­j­jar, nine from Sonepat and two from Farid­abad. About 60% of the 29 pos­i­tive cases de­tected in Sonepat on Mon­day also have veg­etable mar­ket links.

Ad­di­tional chief sec­re­tary (ACS), health, Ra­jeev Arora said the higher num­ber of pos­i­tive cases was on ac­count of cov­er­age of large num­ber of groups, in­clud­ing a size­able chunk of veg­etable ven­dors.

“An eas­ier op­tion would be not to go for rig­or­ous sam­pling as a large part of the in­fected pop­u­la­tion is any­way asymp­to­matic. But we have made a tough choice. In­ten­sive test­ing of over 3,500 veg­etable traders and work­ers, over 1,300 front­line health work­ers, over 800 cops, 300 jour­nal­ists across 22 dis­tricts is the rea­son why the num­ber of pos­i­tive cases has shot up in the state,” the ACS said.

Arora said they have tested over 2,400 in Jha­j­jar district alone, in­clud­ing 1,277 in Ba­hadur­garh mandi. “Sim­i­larly, we have tested about 470 in Ro­htak, 315 in Fate­habad, 299 in Ku­ruk­shetra and 128 in Hisar in less than a week,’’ he said.

Pro­fes­sor Dhruva Chaud­hary, the no­dal of­fi­cer for Covid-19 at Ro­htak PGIMS, said most of the veg­etable traders and work­ers seem to have con­tracted the in­fec­tion from Delhi’s Azad­pur Mandi, a bustling whole­sale veg­etable-fruit trad­ing spot. “The sus­pects would in­clude com­mis­sion agents, whole­salers, re­tail­ers, work­ers, their pri­mary con­tacts and fam­i­lies,” Prof Chaud­hary said.

Jha­j­jar civil sur­geon Dr Ran­deep Singh Poo­nia, who pushed the sam­pling in the last few days, said he will also be writ­ing to the civil sur­geons in other dis­tricts to sound them about the risks in­volved in veg­etable sup­ply oper­a­tions. “Wher­ever the veg­etable sup­plies from Azad­pur are reach­ing here, there is con­ta­gion through both hu­mans and the raw stock,” Dr Poo­nia said.

OTH­ERS UN­DER IN­TEN­SIVE TEST­ING

The ACS said that among other high-risk sus­pects sub­jected to RT-PCR test­ing were de­liv­ery boys, milk ven­dors, per­son­nel in the of­fice of deputy com­mis­sion­ers, trans­port of­fi­cials, chemists, road­ways em­ploy­ees, food han­dlers, vol­un­teers, milk ven­dors and san­i­ta­tion work­ers.

More than 3,500 veg­etable traders and ven­dors have been tested in Haryana, says ad­di­tional chief sec­re­tary, health. HT PHOTO

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