Even as the central government is scrambling to blunt the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus across India, the anti-CAA protesters have displayed perverse desire to brazenly disregard the enforced strictures and continue their demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Now, it is being widely feared the Jahangirpur anti-CAA protest may soon emerge as a hotspot for the novel coronavirus after one of its organisers was tested positive for the intractable contagion.
The organiser had attended the protest at Jahangirpuri after meeting his sister on March 13th, 2020 who had returned from Saudi Arabia a couple of days ago and was tested positive, the 10th coronavirus case in the National capital. As per a report in Times of India, since then, she has reportedly transmitted the virus to her family members and a doctor too. The viral infection was transmitted to her brother-Tabrez Khan, the organiser of the Jahangiri anti-CAA protests, who was admitted to the LNJP hospital and tested positive for the contagion. Subsequently, her mother and two daughters too tested positive. Besides, a doctor who attended to her initially after she started showing signs of illness was later admitted to Guru Tej Bahadur hospital after he reported cough, shortness of breath and high fever was also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Analysts believe that the woman, ostensibly the 10th coronavirus patient in Delhi or ‘patient-10’, may have set off a chain of Wuhan coronavirus infection in the city. The Delhi Health officials have kept at least 74 people in the neighbourhood who are suspected of contracting the virus have been kept under surveillance. The officials sifted through the CCTV footage of the camera installed near the woman’s house to determine who all people were needed to be put under vigilance.
Health officials are also trying to ascertain people who had come in contact with the woman’s mother and brother Tabrez, who both live in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area. As evidenced by the 31st patient in South Korea, who alone accounted for 80 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country, health officials are apprehensive that Tabrez could have passed on the pathogen received from his sister to a raft of people at the Jahangirpuri anti-CAA protest which he visited after meeting his sister on March 13.
The health officials are also wary of the mohalla clinic doctor who had tested positive for the COVID-19 but continued treating patients at his clinic from March 12-March 17 after the woman who returned from Saudi Arabia and tested positive for the virus had visited him. The clinic has since then closed down and the district surveillance team is trying to extract the list of patients who visited the doctor between the suspicious time period.
Despite the government orders and sweeping restrictions imposed across the national capital, the anti-CAA protesters have blithely disregarded the preventive health measures and stubbornly carried on their protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. These protest areas such as Jahangirpuri and Shaheen Bagh, where protesters assemble to exhibit their disapproval against the government passed legislation, pose a serious health hazard as the country enters a crucial period of its fight against the spread of the coronavirus. These protest areas provide a conducive environment and means for the virus to transmit and proliferate, quickly transforming the protest sites into coronavirus hotpots that could spark off an irrepressible surge, extrication from which will be all but an impossible task.