File picture of Rashmi Pratap in the election branch, Tinsukia.

Tinsukia: The election officer of Tinsukia, Rashmi Pratap, has raged a controversy by allegedly attending office to participate in a video conference, two days after she tested positive for COVID-19, and moments after she tested negative for the virus on Wednesday.

The latest COVID-19 SoP for home and institution isolation issued by Health and Family Welfare Department on May 17 reads: They (COVID-19 patients) shall undergo seven days of Institutional isolation under medical supervision and shall be eligible for all supports, including refreshment etc. as notified from time to time. After discharge, following the discharge protocol, they shall complete another seven days of home isolation. The seven-day home isolation is also applicable on Covid-19 patient, under home isolation, from the date they test negative.

The development came on the backdrop of Assam health minister Keshab Mahanta putting five districts, including Tinsukia on red alert for lockdown if the situation doesn’t improve while announcing the latest SoP.

Rashmi Pratap Covid negative report dated June 16 (Source: Rashmi Pratap Facebook profile)

Confirming the development, additional deputy commissioner (health) Dipu Kumar Deka said, the officer was immediately asked to leave the video conference as the matter was brought to our notice. “The VC room was sanitised after she left the place.”

“I have asked to conduct an inquiry into the entire row, and will initiate action as per law, if any lapses come to light,” Narsing Pawar, deputy commissioner of Tinsukia, told this correspondent, adding, “As per initial information, she was carrying a COVID-19 negative report when she came to office on Wednesday.”

However, Pratap, a 2017-batch ACS officer, has denied all the allegations.

Talking to this correspondent, Pratap said she had gone to the office compound to collect some important documents only after testing negative. “Presently, I am in home isolation,” she added.

According to allegations, Pratap tested positive for COVID-19 after she took the Rapid Antigen Test on June 14. However, she mysteriously took the COVID-19 test again in a gap of two days and tested negative this time and later attended the video conferencing.

“At a time when it is expected from common man to follow all Covid-19 protocol strictly, an ACS officer not knowing about the COVID-19 SoP in place and not understanding the seriousness is astonishing,” a source said, and questioned, “Should not this amount to a violation of SoP and attract provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005? Would district administration have gone soft had the violation committed by a common man?” 

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