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Mizoram pastor tests positive for virus

This is the second Covid-19 case from the Northeast
R. Lalthangliana said that his sample was sent to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where he was found infected with coronavirus on Tuesday night.

Henry L. Khojol   |   Aizawl   |   Published 25.03.20, 08:57 PM

Mizoram has reported the first case of novel coronavirus after a 50-year-old man tested positive for the virus, health minister R. Lalthangliana said on Wednesday.

This is the second Covid-19 case from the Northeast after a 23-year-old girl in Manipur’s Imphal West district, who had returned from the UK, tested positive on Tuesday.

Lalthangliana told a news conference on Wednesday that the patient, who was a pastor of a church in an undisclosed Aizawl’s neighbourhood, had returned from Amsterdam recently.

The minister said that his sample was sent to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where he was found infected with coronavirus on Tuesday night.

“We received the test result late last night. It is an imported case and the patient is fine,” Lalthangliana said.

While terming the development “unfortunate,” the health minister urged people not to panic as the patient is educated and a responsible citizen.

He added the state government was making a massive effort to contain the spread of coronavirus under the leadership of chief minister Zoramthanga and the administration would soon procure 80,00 units of personal protective equipment which would be transported by a cargo flight.

The National Health Mission (NHM) director in the state, Dr Eric Zomawia, who accompanied Lalthangliana, said the patient was in Amsterdam for higher studies in theology and had entered Qatar’s capital Doha from the Netherlands.

He arrived recently in Delhi from Doha and then took an IndiGo flight (number 6E939) to Guwahati on March 16, Zomawia said.

He arrived in Aizawl by another flight — GoAir G8X/G8298 — the same day, he said.

Zomawia said the man had fever on March 18 and informed the health department on March 20.

According to the patient, he had complained of mild fever while he was in Amsterdam, Zomawia said, adding that he was examined by a specialist on Sunday following which a sample was sent to GMCH for test.

According to Zomawia, the patient, his wife and two children were immediately shifted to an isolated ward at Zoram Medical College (ZMC), about 16km from here, soon after they received the test result on Tuesday night.

He said the state government had launched contact tracing and advised co-passengers for self-quarantine.

Zomawia added that the patient was improving and stable.

State health principal director F. Lallianhlira told The Telegraph that the patient was put under home quarantine soon after his arrival in Aizawl as they had received prior report before he landed in Delhi.

He said that samples of his relatives and people who came in close contact with him would be sent to Guwahati for tests.

State nodal officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and epidemiologist Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma said 15 of the 16 samples tested negative for Covid-19.

These negative results included a non-tribal in Siaha who was earlier suspected to be infected with the virus, he said.

He added the government had sanitised the coronavirus-infected patient’s house and its surroundings with disinfectant on Wednesday.

A youth who was on the New Delhi-Guwahati flight with the patient was picked up by Golaghat district administration and kept in the isolation ward of Kushal Konwar civil hospital.

Additional reporting by Ritupallab Saikia


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