10,000 people visited Dhabas super-spreader near Delhi, contact tracing begins


Murthal Coronavirus: Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba is a popular highway restaurant near Delhi (File)

New Delhi:

At least 10,000 people have visited two popular highway restaurants in Haryana’s Murthal which have now been sealed after 75 employees were found infected with coronavirus, officials said.

Massive contact tracing work is underway to identify possible infected people, but finding them is a huge challenge, officials said.

“We collected samples from 360 Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba employees on Wednesday. 65 of them were found positive,” Sonepat District Commissioner Shyam Lal Poonia said.

Ten other workers at a highway restaurant in Murthal, Garam Dhaba, owned by actor Dharmendra, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Mr Poonia said it was a big challenge to track down all of the customers who have visited the super-spreader dhabas over the past week.

Mr Poonia said that the Sonepat district administration had launched a screening campaign to test dhaba workers and it was during this process that these cases were detected. He said the district administration continues to carry out routine checks on the dhabas to ensure they are following safety guidelines.

The restaurants along the highway at Murthal, about 70 km from Delhi, are frequented by thousands of people traveling between the nation’s capital and Chandigarh and are known for their paranthas. It’s also a popular spot for weekend brunch and nightlife for residents of neighboring neighborhoods.

The center has authorized interstate movements as part of its “Unlock” plan to get life back to normal after months of coronavirus lockdown. After the restrictions eased, people began to travel across the states. Freeway restaurants that have been closed for months suddenly saw crowds lining up at counters, which could have resulted in the spread of the infection, officials said.

Haryana reported its highest single-day peak on Thursday in 1881 coronavirus cases with 19 deaths. Sonepat district has reported 190 cases of the coronavirus.


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