At least 700 "super spreaders" were found coronavirus positive in Ahmedabad in a massive screening of vegetable sellers and shopkeepers conducted in a week after officials had ordered closure of shops, except those selling milk and medicines, between May 7 and 14, a senior bureaucrat said on Saturday.
"Super-spreaders" are potential carriers of the viral infection who could infect a large number of people coming in their contact.
They could be vegetable vendors, grocery and milk shop owners, petrol pump attendants or garbage collectors, who by the nature of their job carry the risk of contracting and spreading the viral infection.
"About 33,500 super spreaders were screened and 12,500 (of them) tested for coronavirus infection over the last one week. Of them, 700 tested positive and were isolated," said Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Gupta, who has been appointed to oversee works related to COVID-19 in Ahmedabad.
Shops selling essential items reopened from May 15 on certain conditions in Ahmedabad which had been under a complete lockdown since May 7.
"Even as grocery shops and vegetable vendors were allowed to resume their business from May 15, provided they carried health screening cards, at least 700 'super spreaders' were isolated after around 12,500 people were tested for coornavirus infection in a week-long exercise," a senior official said.
Before that about 350 "super spreaders" were detected to have contracted the viral infection in a campaign launched on April 20.
Gupta said massive screening was conducted to ensure that the viral infection cannot get transmitted from the "super spreaders".
He appealed to citizens to buy only from vendors or shopkeepers who carry "health screening cards".
"These 'super spreaders' will have to renew their cards after 14 days,"he said.
Gupta further said the situation was normalising on the front of supply of essential commodities, including grocery items and vegetables. He said these items are supplied in ample quantities after the week-long lockdown was lifted on Friday.
Grocery shops and vegetable/fruit vendors can operate their business between 8 am and 3 pm.
Besides, the AMC also allowed shops to remain open for a few hours in ten containment zones in the city.
Ahmedabad reported 7,044 coronavirus positive cases, and 473 deaths, as per the data available on May 15 night.
The number of active cases is 4,260 and that of discharged people is 2,311.