In what has to be one of our worst nightmares coming true, at least 10 members of the reclusive Great Andamanese tribe have tested positive for COVID-19. The Great Andamanese Tribe has just over 50 survivors and news of the damned pandemic reaching a tribe with such a dwindling population has caused major concern regarding the health and the future of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
“This news of Covid-19 reaching our protected tribal communities in Andaman and Nicobar, is our worst nightmare come true,” Lt. General Bhopinder Singh, former Lieutenant Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, told The Citizen.
AFP reported that six members of the tribe who had travelled to Port Blair for work had recently tested positive. Following this, a team of healthcare officials travelled to the small Strait Island inhabited by the tribe and began conducting tests. The tests revealed that even those people who had never left the island had contracted the virus.
“It is extremely alarming that members of the Great Andamanese tribe tested positive for Covid-19. They will be all too aware of the devastating impact of epidemics that have decimated their people. The Andaman authorities must act urgently to prevent the virus reaching more Great Andamanese and to prevent infection in the other tribes,” Survival International Senior Researcher, Sophie Grig told The Citizen.