COVID-19 cluster in Mnp as 28 policemen test positive

Correspondent IMPHAL, Jul 4 | Publish Date: 7/4/2020 11:04:07 AM IST

Fear and anxiety gripped citizens of Jiribam town and nearby areas after mass infection of police personnel on COVID-19 duties by the COVID-19 virus. As many as 28 police personnel of a police station in Manipur’s Jiribam district, bordering Assam tested positive for the COVID-19 on Friday.

Residents of the border district feared community transmission of the virus in the district even as the state health department clarified it was not a case of community transmission but a local cluster case.

Addressing a press conference in Imphal, officials of the state health department said there was no community transmission of the COVID-19 in the state so far.

The mass infection of 28 police personnel is a local cluster case. There was evidence of cluster cases at the Jiribam police station but no community transmission,” state health director Dr K Rajo said.

There was no need for people of Jiribam to fear and panic as health authorities have swung into action to contain the spread of the disease in the district, he added.

Dr Rajo said investigations have been initiated to find out the origin of the virus. In the process of contact tracing, over 180 persons identified and their swab samples have been collected for COVID-19 test.

So far, except the 28 personnel including VDF (Village Defence Force) personnel, no other positive case was detected, he added. The case of infections at the Jiribam police station was a local cluster and there was no evidence of community transmission, he reiterated.

He said that if spread of the pandemic was reported at a place or some places without knowing the origin of the spread, it is community transmission as per guidelines of the WHO (World Health Organisation).

However, for the Jiribam case, the personnel were infected after one of its personnel contacted the virus, he added.

He said that community transmission of the disease can be checked if people strictly abide by Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and other guidelines and protocols of COVID-19.

He maintained that wearing protective gear like face masks, maintaining physical distance while going out in the public places and washing hands frequently with soap or sanitizer were the best way to protect from contracting the virus.

The streets and market places in the Jiribam town wore a deserted look as residents stayed home fearing contracting the virus even though there was no re-enforcement of stricter lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the district.

No fresh restriction of the COVID-19 lockdown was enforced by the district administration. It was a spontaneous response by residents of the town to stay home, a resident said when contacted over the phone.

He said that with the easing of lockdown like in other parts of the state, shops and markets were open as usual till Friday. People were also seen moving out of their homes as curfew was relaxed during the day time.

However, a totally different scene was witnessed today as almost all shops and markets shuttered down and streets across the border town wore a deserted look. Residents feared of occurring community transmission in the town, he added. He alleged that people of the district panicked after reports of mass infections among the police spread like wildfire in the district and they feared it is a case of community transmission.

It may be mentioned that after an ASI on duty at the Jiribam railway station tested positive for the virus, the district administration declared three locations including the police station as containment zones and tested samples of over 200 police personnel posted at the Jiribam police station. Later, results of as many as 28 tested  positive for the virus on Friday.

The ASI who tested positive for the virus was among the police personnel who discharged duty at the railway station where state people arrived by special trains. He also has a travel history to Silchar town of Assam for his wife’s delivery case a few days ago.


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