Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group ( PVTG), have tested positive for COVID-19. Great Andamanese are one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago and this is one of the first cases of COVID-19 infections among the endangered PVTGs of the region.
“We have shifted all the five to an isolation facility in Port Blair. Of these five persons, four are men and one a woman. They are all cooperating with us and are not showing any serious health complications,” Avijit Roy, Nodal officer for COVID-19 and Deputy Director (Health), Directorate of Health Services, Port Blair, told The Hindu on Thursday.
He said that the infections came to fore after the administration tested all the members of the tribe last week. On the question of how they contracted the viral infection, the health official said that some members of the tribe travel between Port Blair and Strait Island and a few do odd jobs in the city.
The Great Andamanese speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at 51 as per the last study carried out by Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti in 2012. The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarwas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.
Dr. Roy said that the administration was taking all efforts to contain the spread of the virus among the PVTGs. The administration had shifted Jarwas to the the west coast of the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, and was trying to arrange for COVID-19 testing of Onge population. For the Shompen and North Sentinelese population, who live in isolation it was difficult to reach out and contact them, the health official said.
According to the health bulletin issued by Andaman and Nicobar Island, the total confirmed cases of the pandemic on the Islands as on August 25 was 2,945 and the number of deaths was 37.
Courtesy The Hindu