LAHORE: Further investigations into the spread of coronavirus in Sikandaria Colony of Samanabad linked the outbreak to just one ‘super spreader’ who infected 39 people and landed 170 others in hospitals as suspected patients.

The police have locked 57 houses in four locations of Sikandaria Colony after the number of confirmed cases there increased to 39 on Monday.

The police authorities declared the 100-meter area around the locality as ‘Red Zone’ where the cluster of confirmed cases was reported.

Similarly, the Sikandaria Colony’s areas, including Sodiwal Pind, Bilal Street, Abubakar Road and Sodiwal Quarters were declared ‘New Orange Zone’ for possible examination of the residents.

170 others under suspicion

“We have locked down 59 houses so far from where 209 people were declared suspected carriers of coronavirus,” Iqbal Town Division Superintendent of Police (SP) operations retired Capt Mohammad Ajmal told Dawn.

He said that one resident of Sikandaria Colony transmitted virus to 39 others in the area, including his family members, neighbours who were in close contact with him.

The ‘super spreader’, a labourer, had visited Karachi to see his sister and on his return complained of flu, dry cough and fever, he said, adding that being uneducated, the man kept on seeing his relatives and neighbours in spite of having symptoms of coronavirus.

After he tested positive for the virus, the authorities immediately launched a probe that revealed details of his social interaction, causing serious apprehensions regarding safety of others in the locality.

The SP said as the health teams sent samples of the spreader’s family members and immediate contacts, the reports confirmed 39 of them were positive for the virus.

A senior official of the health department said the super spreader of Sikandaria Colony had no international travel history.

Sharing a report with this reporter in this regard, he said, the labourer tested positive for the virus on April 5. The health teams collected samples of his 43 close contacts the same day and the reports received on April 7 confirmed that nine of them were carrying the virus.

Following the alarming number of confirmed patients, he said, the health teams conducted random sampling of 43 more people of the same area on April 8 and found 10 of them positive for the virus.

He said the health teams collected samples of 87 more people who were in contact with the 10 confirmed virus carriers on April 9, finding 19 of them positive. Similarly, the teams collected samples of 36 people who were in contact with the 19 confirmed patients on April 12. Their diagnostic reports are awaited yet, he said.

Similar cases of spreaders have surfaced from many parts of the province, including Gujrat, where four people with foreign travel history had infected over 50 people.

The latest case was reported at the Nishtar Hospital, Multan, where 16 doctors and nine paramedics tested positive after a house officer was found to be a carrier.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2020

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