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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Seven months into the pandemic, Mizoram reports first Covid-related death

The patient was on ventilator at the Zoram Medical College (ZMC), the state’s only dedicated Covid-19 hospital, after testing positive for the virus on October 19.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati | October 28, 2020 3:19:41 pm
coronavirus, Covid sanitation, biotechnology, sars cov 2,The unprecedented COVID situation is a huge challenge to the country, but it has brought with it many opportunities. And India’s response was immediate.

Mizoram — the only state in the country with zero fatalities during the pandemics so far — recorded its first Covid-19 death on Wednesday: a 62-year-old man, with co-morbid conditions. There are no reported deaths in the union territory of Lakshadweep either.

“#Mizoram records our first COVID-19 related mortality, a 62-years-old with existing co-morbidities; undergoing treatment at Zoram Medical College. We are shocked, pained and will continue putting up our guards against this pandemic” tweeted Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday afternoon.

The patient was on ventilator at the Zoram Medical College (ZMC), the state’s only dedicated Covid-19 hospital, after testing positive for the virus on October 19. “He had hypertension and diabetes,” said Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, State Nodal officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). “The ZMC authorities have said that he died of a heart attack at about noon on Wednesday, and we are still trying to ascertain if Covid was the direct cause,” he said.

Mizoram reported its first Covid-19 case — a 50-year-old who had returned from the Netherlands — early in March itself, the second state in the Northeast to report the infection. However, since then, the authorities, with cooperation from community members, have managed to not only to keep the infections in check, but maintain a zero death track record. Currently, out of the 2,607 cases, 374 are active. Out of the active patients, three are in need of critical care and are on ventilators, authorities said.

Besides early reporting, testing, contact tracing, and patient care being up to the mark, Dr Lalmalsawma said that the low death rate was because Mizoram was fortunate to have a majority of the cases that were mild or asymptomatic. However, in the last few weeks, there has been an increase in the number of symptomatic cases. “Earlier about 80 per cent cases were asymptomatic but now the trend has been reserved, and about 60 per cent have symptoms.”

Earlier in October, the authorities had opened schools and colleges but have retracted that decision because of a fear of community spread of the virus. While the state is already observing a “COVID-19 No Tolerance Fortnight” — a strategy involving a slew of measures including awareness activities, restriction of movement in people, and regulation of traffic — a one-week-long lockdown has been imposed on Aizawl municipal area starting Monday. As per an order signed by Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuango, the restrictions had been imposed because of “the rise in the number of symptomatic cases” and “a recent surge of COVID- 19 positive cases with untraceable contacts within Aizawl municipal area which was an indication of community spread.”

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