COVID-19 cases rise to 403 in M’laya

Correspondent SHILLONG, JUL 17 | Publish Date: 7/17/2020 12:51:26 PM IST

New COVID-19 cases in Meghalaya continued to rise on Friday, even as health authorities feared community transmission in the State’s Ri Bhoi district adjoining Assam’s Kamrup district.

As on Friday evening, 26 more persons, including 19 troopers of the Border Security Force (BSF) and two health workers stationed at the entry checkpoint in Byrnihat under Ri Bhoi district have tested positive for COVID-19.

Director of Health Services (MI), Dr Aman War said of the 26 positive cases detected in the state till 4 pm on Friday, 19 were in East Khasi Hills, including 13 BSF troopers and the wife of one BSF trooper, besides five civilians, which included returnees to the state. War said that a 9-month old baby who came from Manipur with the parents,  was referred to the Corona care centre in Shillong.     While the parents tested negative, only the baby tested positive. Another one-and-half month old baby who came with the parents from Bihar tested positive along with the parents and they are being treated at Shillong Civil Hospital.

Seven other positive cases, including two health workers and five civilians in Baridua area were detected in Ri-Bhoi district, where there is possibility of community transmission of the virus already in Khanapara area, the senior medical official said.

He said the two health workers are now admitted in Reid Provincial Chest Hospital. Till date, a total of three health staff working at the Byrnihat checkpoint have tested positive.

 When a journalist asked if community spread has started in Khanapara area, War said, “We suspected community spread at Khanapara area and curfew is being imposed in the area right from Byrnihat to prevent people from coming out unnecessarily, and to break the transmission chain.”

On spike of COVID-19 positive cases among the BSF troopers, the medical official maintained that the spread of the viral disease has been within the BSF campus at Umpling. 

“Altogether 1800 people are residing inside the BSF campus and all of them have been tested and there is a plan to conduct test by using the Antigen Test Kit,” he said.

Furthermore, War informed that the BSF authority has also stopped the movement of its troopers due to return to Meghalaya after observing that the situation is not conducive.

Giving the district wise breakup of the positive cases, the senior medical official informed that of the 352 active cases in the State, 307 are in East Khasi Hills (236 BSF, others 57, armed forces 14) Ri Bhoi - 31, East Jaintia Hills - 2, West Garo Hillhs - 8, South Garo Hills -2, East Garo Hills - 1 and North Garo Hills -1.

Meghalaya has now recorded a total of 403 COVID-19 cases that includes two deaths and a total of 49 recoveries.

Of the 25,981 swab samples sent for testing till date, 25,178 have tested negative, while the outcome of 400 were awaited.

With regard to random testing in localities adjacent to the BSF Frontier Headquarter, War informed that out of 547 tests, one tested positive from Umpling, and all the 1,001 tests conducted at Nongmensong area yielded negative results.

However, he said four more persons from Umpling village have tested positive for the viral infection in antigen test kit and their samples have been sent for testing in RT-PCR, the results of which are awaited.


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