Corona case count in North-East rises to 33


Guwahati/Agartala: One more COVID-19 positive case was detected in Assam on Tuesday night, taking the state’s active cases to 28 while the total number of positive cases in the northeastern region rose to 33, ministers and officials said.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a tweet on Tuesday night: “One more Covid-19 positive case from Hailakandi district (southern Assam) has been confirmed, taking the total number in Assam to 28. This patient has a travel history to Saudi Arabia”.

Urging people not to panic, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said in a tweet on Monday night: “First Covid-19 positive case detected in Tripura. The patient is from Udaipur (southern Tripura). We are taking proper care of the patient.”

The health officials in Agartala said that the 45-year-old infected woman returned to Tripura by train on March 18-19 after offering puja at Guwahati’s Kamakhya temple.

“The woman tested positive for novel coronavirus on Monday at the government- run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital,” West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Sandeep Mahatme N. said in a notification.

The District Magistrate has formed a five-member Rapid Response Team to look after the patient.

Of the 33 positive cases in five northeastern states — Assam (28), Manipur (2), Mizoram (1), Arunachal Pradesh (1) and Tripura (1) — 28 took part in the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi last month, while a Manipuri girl and a Mizoram man had tested positive last month after they returned from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, respectively.

Another 52-year-old trader in Assam’s Kamrup (Metro) district has also been infected with coronavirus. Besides, four persons from Assam and eight from Tripura, who had attended the Jamaat congregation, have tested positive for Covid-19 and are under treatment in hospitals in north India.

Assam Health Minister Sarma told the media in Guwahati that the state government is considering issuing entry permits as a temporary measure to regulate the entry of people into Assam after the nationwide lockdown ends.

“This temporary permit would be a special entry certificate and not on the lines of Inner Line Permit, as is mandatory in the other northeastern states,” Sarma said, adding that legal action would be taken under the Disaster Management Act against those people who are hiding after attending the Nizamuddin event.

“We are concerned that once the lockdown is lifted and inter-state transport is resumed, there would be a lot of pressure since there are thousands of people from Assam and other northeastern states who are stranded in different parts of the country and would try to come back to their homes,” the minister said.

Assam is the gateway for six other northeastern states sharing 2,616 km borders with Nagaland (512.1 km), Arunachal Pradesh (804.1 km), Manipur (204.1 km), Mizoram (164.6 km), Tripura (46.3 km) and Meghalaya (884.9 km).

Meanwhile, on Monday, there was good news from Manipur where a 23-year-old woman who had returned from the UK and became the first positive coronavirus case in the entire northeastern region, was declared completely free of the dreaded virus.

Manipur Health and Family Welfare Minister Langpoklakpam Jayantakumar Singh, in a Facebook post on Monday, said: “The much awaited news of our daughter Vimi’s final COVID-19 test report has come out negative. Now she is completely free from the COVID-19 virus.”

According to health officials in Imphal, the woman is now undergoing treatment at Imphal’s Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), where she was admitted on March 23.

“Her family members’ swab samples were tested negative earlier,” an official said.