Fears rise for tribes in Andamans as COVID cases explode


COVID-19 particularly puts the aboriginal tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands in a vulnerable position

Port Blair: With 31 more people turning out to be COVID positive, COVID tally in Andaman and Nicobar islands rose to 3,081.

Over 10 individuals belonging the Great Andamanese tribe, a notified Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), with a population of just 56 individuals tested postive for COVID.

 

According to officials, four of them belong to Strait Island, while six of them reside in Port Blair.

The island administration has since ramped up testing among the Onge, Little Andamanese and the Great Andamanese and the Jarawas.

Samples of 120 members of the Onge tribe of Little Andaman and 50 members of the Jarawa tribe have been collected and sent for COVID-19 tests, officials said.

“We are mass testing the Great Andamanese tribe as some other members might have come in contact with these infected persons,” he added.

COVID-19 particularly puts the aboriginal tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands in a vulnerable position due to their low resistance to diseases not known to their community earlier.

 

The population of these aboriginal tribes has been particularly on decline after it suffered a measles outbreak in the past due to contact with the outside world.

Factors such as tobacco and alcohol addiction too has been a contributing factor to the decline in the population of these particularly vulnerable tribes.

“Two of the infected persons are undergoing treatment at G B Pant hospital in Port Blair, two are in quarantine in a COVID care centre and six of the tribe members who live in Port Blair have been placed under home isolation,” says Dr Avijit Roy, nodal officer for COVID-19 in Andaman and Nicobar islands.



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