Thirteen more Border Security Force (BSF) jawans tested positive for COVID-19 infection Tuesday, taking the total number of active cases in Tripura to 40. All active patients in the state include BSF jawans, their family members and a mess worker.
Informing about the latest cases, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tweeted that no civilian has tested positive and that there was no need to panic.
Total #COVID19 positive cases in Tripura stands at 42 (2 already discharged, so active cases : 40)
There is no POSITIVE case among civilians.
— Biplab Kumar Deb (@BjpBiplab) May 5, 2020
The CM also posted on his Facebook page that the state government was conducting “the maximum number” of tests. He also warned people of strict action for spreading rumours.
The fresh coronavirus cases were confirmed on the fourth consecutive day from a single location – 138th battalion of BSF at Ambassa in Dhalai district, 90 km from here, where a head constable and a constable were found to be infected with the virus on May 2. Twelve more jawans tested coronavirus positive the next day.
State nodal officer for COVID-19 Dr Deep Kumar Debbarma informed that the BSF battalion headquarters is being converted into a COVID-19 care centre.
Earlier in the day, Principal Secretary (Home) B K Sahu wrote to Inspector General Solomon Minz of BSF Tripura Frontiers to enquire into the origin of the cases and steps taken by BSF to prevent further spread.
A BSF Public Relations Officer (PRO) informed that all mass physical activities, including PT, sainik sammelan and other gatherings, have stopped. The usual staffing has also been curtailed to check the spread of coronavirus, he added.
The official also said no civilian is being allowed to enter any BSF camp for the time being, neither is any BS jawan allowed to interact with civilians. Jawans staying outside camps and at headquarters with their families aren’t allowed to enter the camps either.
About the source of infection, Additional Chief Secretary SK Rakesh told reporters: “Most likely some BSF jawans who returned from holidays in March-end carried viral load to the battalion headquarters. They didn’t come out except for duty, which is why the spread is limited to the force.
Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath told at a media briefing this evening that 88 BSF jawans who came in touch with their infectd comrades were being tested. Their reports were awaited.
Dhalai District Magistrate has marked the BSF 138 battalion headquarters at Jawharnagar as a containment zone. The Gandacherra base camp of the border security agency and Kareena Border Out Post (BOP) have also been announced as containment zones.
Law Minister Nath reiterated that no community transmission of coronavirus was found in Tripura and said no sample tested from the containment zones were found positive.
“Sixty samples from Dhalai district hospital, including 56 health workers and four patients, were tested. All the reports are negative,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gomati and North Tripura, where the first two COVID-19 cases were identified, have been declared green zones. However, Dhalai district was declared as a red zone.
According to latest reports, 1,028 persons are under surveillance in the state, including 173 at quarantine centres and 855 persons under home quarantine. A total of 5,850 people have been tested since Marc.
Tripura currently has one dedicated COVID hospital, one COVID health center and a COVID care centre.
Tripura’s first two COVID patients were identified in early April. These included a woman who had travelled to Kamakhya Temple in Assam in March, just before the lockdown was imposed, and a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawan who returned from his home in Madhya Pradesh. Both recovered and were released in April itself.