Six staff members of the revenue department, two secretariat staff members and one police official tested positive on Monday.

Nine frontline workers in AP town test positive for coronavirus source untracedImage for representation: PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 17:18

Srikalahasti town of Chittoor district saw a big jump in the number of COVID-19 cases on Monday, with 24 people testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Of these 24 patients, 9 were frontline workers working for the government and carrying out essential services, including staff from revenue and police departments.

“Two of them were secretariat staff, six were revenue department workers and one person was from the police,” Srikalahasti Municipality Commissioner Sreekanth said.

Allegations have now surfaced blaming an exercise recently carried out by YSRCP MLA from Srikalahasti Biyyapu Madhusudhan Reddy for putting government staff at risk of infection. The MLA had transported rice and fruit in nearly 25 tractors, in order to distribute them to poor families in the town.

Sreekanth, however, denied the allegations, saying the infected staff were not associated with the MLA’s rally and distribution program. While the source of infection is yet to be established, he said that most of the infected staff were out in the field carrying out surveys and tracing contacts of other COVID-19 patients, which might have exposed them to the virus.

The tractors used to transport the supplies distributed by the MLA also had large flexes displaying images of people who had donated to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, including film actors like Prabhas and Mahesh Babu, corporations like Reliance and Tata Groups, and even YS Bharati, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s wife.

Srikalahasti police had said that the MLA was on his scooter, guiding the volunteers who were distributing essentials from the tractors. They also insisted that social distancing protocols were strictly followed, and the distribution was carried out safely. The MLA had reportedly funded the whole exercise with his own resources.

Chittoor district did not record any new cases on Tuesday morning. The total number of cases in the district stands at 53. With the increasing number of cases, the state government has said that community transmission could have started in the state. The government has ramped up testing lately, with 5,022 samples tested within 24 hours since Monday morning. 


New cases indicate possibility of community transmission in Andhra: Health Minister

Video: YSRCP MLA Roja walks down road as villagers shower flower petals, triggers row

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.