With 42 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the number of positive cases in Agra mounted to 743 on Sunday morning. A central jail inmate from Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi, serving a life sentence here, succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday evening, raising the death count due to the virus to 24 in the Taj city. The neighbouring Firozabad had 178 cases and in Mathura the number was 46.
As sampling picked up momentum, the number of cases has also increased, according to the health officials in the region. Seeing this, the Agra branch of the Indian Medical Association has demanded a new 200-bedded hospital immediately to cope with the serious challenge.
The bright aspect was that the mortality rate had not yet crossed three percent, and the recovery rate was improving, with better management of resources, officials claimed.
However, the major challenge in the city was to manage migrant labourers who were returning in the hundreds. Dozens of new quarantine centres have been opened on the outskirts. Village monitoring committees have been activated to ensure outsiders did not enter without screening, district officials said.
For the past few days labourers had been returning from Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan, walking and cycling. On Saturday, the security personnel had a tough time handling the pressure, after a couple of scuffles to force the migrants into quarantine centres, on the district border at Raipura Jaat in the Mathura district.
Around 250 labourers, headed for Bihar were sent to the quarantine centre on Saturday. "It is sad to see these distressed people becoming a football between administrations and security teams of different districts," social activist Shravan Kumar Singh said.
Meanwhile, the personnel of the Railway Protection Force were patrolling the tracks round the clock to ensure there was no repetition of the Maharashtra tragedy.
(With Inputs from IANS)