Ten members of the Great Andamanese tribe of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the past month.
While six of them have recovered from the viral infection, four tested positive for COVID-19 only a week ago, health officials have informed. These four were residing on a remote island when they contracted COVID-19, reported BBC.
The Great Andamanese is a dying tribe with a population of barely over 50. The Central government has categorised them as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). They live on Strait Island near the coral reef-fringed archipelago’s capital Port Blair.
Nearly 3,000 inhabitants of the eastern archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar have tested positive for the coronavirus so far; 41 of them have died of the disease.
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Doctor Avijit Roy, a senior health official, has informed that the first COVID-19 cases among the endangered tribe were detected last week when RT-PCR COVID-19 tests were conducted on all the 53 members. The health workers had to set sail in boats and test all the tribe members in one day.
Out of four of the members of the Great Andamanese tribe who tested COVID-19 positive last week, two have been admitted to a hospital, while the other two have are currently quarantined at a healthcare centre.
Commenting on how tribals residing on a remote island might have contracted the coronavirus, Dr Roy said: “Many of the tribe's members travel between Port Blair and the Strait Island and some even do petty jobs in the city. They might have contracted the infection in the process.”
The health officials are trying to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread among members of the other indigenous tribes there, namely, the Jarawas, Onge, North Sentinelese and Shompen.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here