Since Tuesday, the Northeast has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases (16 in Assam, one in Manipur and one in Arunachal Pradesh), all linked to the religious congregation organised by the Tablighi Jamaat at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz.
On Thursday morning, Arunachal Pradesh reported its first case, when a 31-year-old man from Lohit District tested positive. The patient, who recently attended the event at Nizamuddin Markaz, is non-Arunachalee, Chief Minister Pema Khandu confirmed on a video statement on Twitter. He added that the six who had travelled with him tested negative, but would be retested. The patient, CM Khandu said, was asymptomatic — no cough, no fever. Currently, he is being kept an isolation ward in Tezu town.
Arunachal today registered a positive case of #COVID19. In view of this, I appeal my people of Arunachal to adhere to lockdown and safety guidelines more rigorously. All measures are being taken to prevent further outbreak of the virus. @PMOIndia #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/MkkF7OeKOS
— Pema Khandu (@PemaKhanduBJP) April 2, 2020
“There is only one formula to fight this virus: stay home,” Khandu appealed to the people of Arunachal Pradesh.
In Manipur, one out of the ten people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi tested positive.
The person — a 65-year-old from Thoubal district — is now in an isolation ward of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal. The remaining nine are in a quarantine centre in Thoubal district, Manipur Health Department confirmed.
The department has also reportedly evacuated the family members of the COVID-19 patient to a quarantine centre at RIMS. The patient returned to Imphal from Delhi by an Air India flight on March 11. The Health department has released a list of 31 high-risk co-passengers who were on the same flight.
Dr. K. Rajo, Health Director of Manipur, said that during the course of tracing the patient’s travel history, it was found out that he was admitted (between March 20 and 22)with fever to a private hospital situated in Imphal East district.
The department has now quarantined as many as 15 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital. “When we came to know that he had developed symptoms of COVID-19, we sent samples of all healthcare workers of the hospital for testing,” said Rajo.
Meanwhile, a large area surrounding the patient’s locality has been sealed off by the district authority as a containment measure. Vehicular movement in the containment area has also been banned to initiate active surveillance.
In Assam, a massive contact-tracing operation is on to find around 500 people linked to the religious congregation. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said that nearly 488 people had been identified, 395 had been quarantined and 361 samples collected. While 16 have tested positive, the remaining results will be available by noon on Friday. Sarma confirmed that the eleven new cases reported on Wednesday — from Golaghat and Goalpara districts — include four women and seven men.
“Till a vaccine is discovered, please be prepared for a long struggle,” Sarma told reporters. He said that Assam had 11,000 PPE kits and N-95 masks in lakhs, so medical professionals should not worry.
While Tripura has not reported a single positive COVID-19 case till now, the state government has started mock drills to test preparedness, in case the situation arises.The test reports of 52 persons from attended from Tripura are negative. “Everyone from our state who went there have been identified and put under quarantine,” said Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
On Thursday, CM Deb joined a mock drill exercise at Gobinda Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital, where a whole block alongwith Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has been converted to isolation centre. After observing the drill with a mock patient and treatment protocols adopted by doctors, the CM told reporters that the state government has braced itself for any situation.
CM Deb added that medical teams comprising doctors, nurses and ward boys are on standby if any COVID-19 positive patient is identified. “Such teams will be deployed for seven days. There are accommodation facilities as well there. After seven days, they will be relieved by a second team while the first teams goes to quarantine for 14 days to make sure they are clean,” the CM said.
While seven people from Meghalaya attended the Tablighi Jamaat event, none have returned to Meghalaya. “It is confirmed that 5 are in Delhi and 2 are in Lucknow,” said a release from the Meghalaya government on Wednesday. The Garo Hills district administration Tuesday sealed interstate borders with Assam following the detection of cases in Assam.
Last week, a 52-year-old pastor, who had travelled to Mizoram, tested positive. “His condition stable — althought he has a still slight fever, everything else is okay,” said Mizoram Health Secretary, H. Lalengmawia. Nagaland and Sikkim have not reported a positive case yet.
The total COVID-19 cases in the Northeast stand at 20.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines