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M’laya’s COVID-19 source still unknown

M’laya’s COVID-19 source still unknown
File photo of Bethany Hospital in Shillong.
Correspondent Shillong, Apr 24 | Publish Date: 4/24/2020 9:08:59 AM IST

It is almost two weeks since Meghalaya recorded the first COVID-19 patient, who succumbed to the virulent virus attack within 48 hours, but the Meghalaya government is still in the dark about the source of infection.

 “We are still trying to ascertain the source of the virus that had infected and killed the first positive patient. Contact tracing and surveillance are on a war footing to ascertain the source of the virus,” Director of Health Services, Dr. Aman War said.

Meghalaya recorded the first COVID-19 positive case on April 13, that of Dr. Sailo, the Director of the Bethany hospital, which is now declared as COVID-19 hotspot in this state capital. The patient succumbed to the virus in less than 48-hours.

Out of the 11 active COVID-19 patients, two are domestic helpers and eight of them are family members of Dr. Sailo. Another woman, who had met Dr. Sailo has also found tested positive for the virus.

Till Thursday evening, over 1,100 samples tested for COVID19, out of which 1,000 samples found negative.

 “Out of 1109 samples sent for test, 1000 samples have been tested negative and the results of 97 samples are awaited,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said on Thursday.  “All positive patients are stable,” he said, adding that all primary contacts of all the positive patients have tested negative so far. “All known primary contacts of the positive patients have been tested for and are found to be negative so far,” Sangma said.

A total of 24,382 persons have been screened till now with 5,208 in home quarantine and 296 in institutional quarantine.

The family members of Dr. Sailo have also urged the Meghalaya government to “track down the source of the killer virus”. “In pursuance of truth, it is hoped authorities will thoroughly track the source of the virus, instead of allowing conjectures to dominate the narrative,” Dr. Sailo’s family members demanded.

Initially, Health officials suspected that the physician could have got infected from his son-in-law, Arthur Wungthingthing, a pilot with Air India who returned from New York to Delhi on March 16 and reached Shillong on March 24.

However, Wungthingthing had tested negative twice after staying in home quarantine for more than 14 days after reaching Shillong.

 “It might be pertinent to consider that one of the patients that Dr. Sailo treated in the line of duty may be responsible for the transmission. The search and isolation of this person is where the state’s energy and resources should be directed at, not target people with or without reason,” Wungthingthing said.

The million dollar question is about how the virus is being transmitted to the Shillong-based physician, especially when he had no travel history outside the country.

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