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
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