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Coronavirus news: India’s Covid-19 outbreak is turning into a rural health crisis | India News

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NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Rural areas of India have begun to see an increase in new coronavirus infections as millions of migrant workers returning from big cities and industrial centers bring the virus to their homes, according to data collected from seven indian states.

Authorities said the increase in cases was a new challenge for the country’s health authorities, even as they struggle to control the outbreak in cities amid the relaxation of a month-long shutdown. Confirmed cases in India crossed the 2,00,000 mark on Wednesday. Some experts say a peak is still missing for weeks.

Dr. Naman Shah, an epidemiologist and doctor who advises the central task force, said the rural outbreaks could be “devastating” given the inadequate number of doctors and health centers.

“High levels of comorbidity, high levels of malnutrition and weak health infrastructure, that’s just the recipe for high mortality,” said Shah, who lives in rural central India.

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In Bihar, official data showed that of the 3,872 coronavirus cases registered until June 1, 2,743 were linked to migrant workers who returned after May 3, when the government began operating trains and buses to reduce the exodus on foot. .

All transport in India was suspended in late March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a national blockade in an attempt to contain Covid-19.

Most of the workers who tested positive in Bihar came from New Delhi and the industrialized states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the data showed.

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Workers returning from western India also caused a massive increase in cases in Jharkhand, state health official Nitin Madan Kulkarni said.

“After May 2, whatever positive cases we have, almost 90% of them are migrant workers,” Kulkarni told Reuters. The state currently has 752 confirmed cases, up from 111 on May 1.

As migrant workers deploy in their villages, some states with a large existing case load face a second wave of infections.

In Maharashtra, which with about 75,000 infections represents a third of the total number of cases in the country, authorities in some rural districts said that their state health centers were struggling with the influx.

“If this pace continues for the next few weeks, we will have no choice but to take control of private hospitals to treat critically ill patients,” said a Satara district official.

Times of India

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