COVID-19 Reaches Andaman's Tribal Population; 10 Out of 53 Surviving Members Infected

  • 02 Sep 2020

COVID-19 has reached the Great Andamanese tribe in India, of which only over 50 people survive today. 

According to reports, six of the 10 who tested positive for the coronavirus have recovered and are in home quarantine, while the rest are undergoing treatment at a local hospital. 

The tribe lives on the tiny Strait Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain in the Indian Ocean.

Some members of the tribe travel to work at government jobs in the archipelago's capital Port Blair, while the tribe's general welfare, including food and shelter, is taken care of by the Indian government. 

In the early 19th century, the Great Andamanese numbered more than 5,000 in the islands, but thousands were wiped out while defending their territories from British invasion, and the epidemics that followed. 

The chain of islands is also home to the hostile Sentinelese tribe, which killed an American mercenary in 2018 after he encroached into their territory. His body was never found. 

Authorities are extremely careful about not letting outsiders enter the endangered tribal territory, as the tribal members are not equipped with the immune system to ward off many infectious diseases. 

India is not the only country grappling with the outbreak among its indigenous community. 

Tribes in Brazil and Peru, including some belonging to the isolated Amazon tribes, have caught the dreaded COVID-19. 

In Brazil alone, data shows that 26,000 tribe members have been infected by the virus, and 690 have died from it. 

India is the third worst hit country by the COVID-19 outbreak, with over 3.79 million people infected, and more than 66,000 dead. 

Source: South China Morning Post
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