The Andhra Pradesh Secretariat in Amaravati is turning out to be a new hotspot for coronavirus with one more employee testing positive on Thursday as 141 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the state aggregate to 4,112.
The toll too increased by three to 71, with Guntur, Krishna and Kurnool reporting one death each in the last 24 hours, a bulletin said.
The rise in the case were due to suspected super- spreaders in East Godavari and Guntur districts along with those coming to the state from other parts of the country.
After one staffer each of the General Administration Department and Agriculture Department tested positive for coronavirus in the Secretariat, another employee attached to the Revenue Principal Secretary was found infected on Thursday.
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 in the last 24 hours, taking the aggregate to 4,112. As many as 43 of the new cases were those who came to the state from different parts of the country.
It is suspected that a 53-year-old person, who recently died of the virus at Gollala Mamidada village near Kakinada, might have spread the virus to several persons.
"It was the only case of COVID-19 death in our district and, yes, some 100 people might 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 D Muralidhar Reddy told PTI over phone. The primary and secondary contacts of the deceased person were screened and so far only about 100 cases were confirmed.
"Everything is now under control in and around G Mamidada," the Collector said.
Of the 313 cases reported in East Godavari district so far, half were "outsiders."
In Guntur city, the wholesale vegetable market on Yetukuru Road was shut down after 26 coronavirus cases were detected a couple of days ago.
The contagion spread ostensibly 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 Chennai city, from where hundreds of cases originated.
Health Department and Police personnel have now fanned out to villages around Guntur, from where vegetable vendors frequent the wholesale market, to identify possible contacts who might have been infected.
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 Secretariat was opened fully only last week after the fourth phase of lockdown ended but the sudden detection of cases has set a scare among the employees.
Most of the staff returned from Hyderabad after a gap of two months following the governments directive for 100 per cent attendance.
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