Tinsukia: “Moi bhoi khuwa nai hosake, mur suwalik khali sabo (I am not afraid honestly, just take care of my daughter).”
That was a mother’s heart-wrenching appeal — with tears rolling down her cheeks — to her neighbours while she stepped into an ambulance in Assam after she tested positive for COVID-19 aka novel coronavirus.
Babita Basfor, a health worker, tested positive along with three other persons in Bongaigaon district on Thursday.
In the video, an ambulance can be seen standing to whisk away Basfor. As she is approaching the ambulance, one can hear her saying: “What to do, it happened while doing my duty, not just like that.”
Multiple voices can be heard trying to boost her morale. One person said, “Apunak salute di aasu baidew (saluting you sister),” while the another said: “Tension nai, kandibole nai (Do not take tension, nothing to cry).”
As she appealed to take care of her daughter, one person instantly responded: “Don’t worry, we are there.”
Throwing light on how these cases were detected, Bongaigaon deputy commissioner MS Lakshmi Priya told EastMojo that the district administration had started with fever surveillance activity, which is unrelated to COVID-19 in order to combat against other fever cases like Japanese Encephalitis (JE), Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), malaria, dengue, etc. “They were not suspected of having coronavirus as neither they had travel history, nor contact history.”
“As part of the surveillance activity, we took a decision that any influenza like illness that is identified in the field or is reported to a doctor will have to be sent to civil hospital so that their swab samples can be collected,” Priya said, adding, “It is only for the purpose of surveillance.”
As part of that, in abundance caution, we took the swab samples to know that everything is fine. “Luckily, we got to know that four cases are positive and now we are working to find out if there are more such cases,” she added.
Rubbishing reports of lapses, Priya said, “Once the sample is taken, we do not think that one can have COVID-19. Hence, they were not put in quarantine and the two health workers were asked to report for duty.”
There were reports emerging that there has been lapses on part of district administration while handling these cases. The patients, tested positive on Thursday, were not put into quarantine even after their swab samples were collected much before, which might have put many at risk.
Basfor’s swab sample was collected on April 25.
Priya said that the process of contact tracing is underway. “So far, altogether 266 persons have been put into institutional quarantine. An equal number of persons will be also put in institutional quarantine by tonight.”
On Friday, three more coronavirus positive cases were discharged from hospital taking the number of active positive cases in the state to 9.