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Punjab village sees 34 corona cases of close-knit families (Ld)

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By NS Desk 11-Apr-2020

Chandigarh, April 11 (IANS) A village in Punjab's Mohali district saw two more coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the total cases there to 34 in less than a week.

Health officials say all of them belong to close-knit and extended families of the prime patient, the 'panch' or an elected panchayat member of Jawaharpur village near Dera Bassi town, some 20 km from the state capital Chandigarh.

A day earlier, 11 cases came in Jawaharpur, which has a population of less than 3,000, and all contacts of the positive patient.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan told IANS all the cases have no travel history and they were in the direct contact with the positive cases.

He said all patients were relatives of an extended family and there was no case of community transmission.

"Extensive sampling has enabled us to identify more positive cases within the village and timely isolate them, hopefully containing the spread in the village with a population of 2,500 plus, as well as beyond," he said.

The first case in the village was reported on April 4 with the 42-year-old 'panch', who runs a tent house, testing positive.

Doctors believe the tent house owner contracted COVID-19 from his part-time employee, who returned to the village after visiting Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz in March. He has been missing since March 30.

The panch's first cousin is the husband of village's sarpanch.

Civil Surgeon Manjeet Singh said it is believed some outsiders stayed in the village till March 30 and they might be the source of infection.

Most of the patients were asymptomatic and were detected only though tests.

Jawaharpur is now a containment zone with a complete ban on movement of people along with three neighbouring villages.

Authorities blame the massive spread of the virus to frequent mingling of family members for the community kitchens organised by them to cater to the weaker sections during lockdown.

With the surfacing of 34 cases from a village, Mohali district that lies adjoining Chandigarh has emerged as a major hotspot of coronavirus with reporting of 50 cases -- almost one-third of state's total patients of 157.

One woman was tested positive posthumously in the district, which saw 50 cases with two deaths.

"Health teams have sampled over 10 dead bodies and one positive case was reported," Dayalan said.

He said the posthumously tested positive was a woman resident of Mundi Kharar.

The Health Department said a total of 713 samples were collected in the district till April 9.

--IANS

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