Credit: Representational image

Gangtok: Two tourists from Gujarat have tested positive on Rapid Antigen Testing from Chungthang, North Sikkim. The family of four have been in Sikkim since March 18, having visited Pelling in West Sikkim, Namchi in South Sikkim and Lachen and Gurudongmar in North Sikkim.

On March 24, one of the elderly patients developed symptoms of sore throat, body ache, slight fever and later tested positive for COVID-19 through the RAT test at Chungthang Community Health Centre.

The family had stayed in many hotels across the various places they visited. As a result, many of the establishments have been declared as a containment zone. In North Sikkim, the matter has now been informed to Lachen Pipon, who issued an advisory to people to not visit the hotel. The Hotel in North Sikkim has cancelled it’s bookings for the next week, with only two hotel workers being housed currently.

Accordingly, the two patients have been sent to Gangtok, with directions to report at STNM Hospital for further necessary action. Furthermore, the hotels where they stayed have been declared as a containment zone.

Also Read | Sikkim imposes night curfew amid COVID scare

The report has been circulated over social media, with many suspecting the same to be the second strain of COVID-19 since Gujarat has reported active cases of the mutant virus.

Health Department officials also confirmed that two patients were admitted at the STNM Hospital, though they couldn’t confirm if the virus was a mutated version. “There is no way we can ascertain if the virus is mutated or not. But one thing is certain: this is the first case reported from the visiting tourists to have tested positive in Sikkim, since the initiation of the Unlock”.

The timing of these cases, once again at the tourist season, with many tourism stakeholders complaining, could dampen the tourist season yet again. Elsewhere, the government’s assurance of providing proper screening or checkpoints at Siliguri still appears to be only on paper and not in action.

Could this be the second wave of COVID 19 in Sikkim and how far it may have spread with no restriction?

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