Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb campaigning to raise awareness on the prevention of coronavirus in the state Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: While Tripura government has imposed a three day ‘total lockdown’ starting 5 am Monday to 5 am on Thursday, health officials in the state have started a massive door-to-door survey to detect new COVID-19 patients through rapid antigen tests.

From registering state’s first novel coronavirus positive case on April 6 to a total of 3,919 COVID-19 positive cases at the moment, with 13 deaths and 2362 recovered patients, Tripura has so far maintained a striking recovery rate of 60.44%.

Also Read: Tripura reports two more COVID-19 related deaths; total 13 so far

Taking prompt action, the BJP-IPFT government ordered the closure of all the educational institutions and gymnasiums on March 17 much before the national lockdown. The markets were also shifted to open fields to avert public gatherings and to further contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

The state government and administration without much delay took note of the situation and set up state- and district-level control rooms to monitor the situation.

Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb on March 17 started a door-to-door campaign to spread awareness on prevention of coronavirus among the people living in bordering areas of Kailashahar in Unakoti district.

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When did Tripura report first COVID-19 case?

The state’s first positive case was reported on April 6 after a 45-year-old woman from Gomati district tested positive with travel history to Assam’s Guwahati.

Taking to Twitter, CM Biplab Kumar Deb announced the development at 8 pm on April 6, 2020. “Alert! First #COVID19 positive case detected at Tripura. The patient is from Udaipur. Don’t Panic, we are taking proper care of the patient. Stay Home Stay Safe. Update at: 8PM / April 6,” he tweeted.

The second case was reported on April 10, after a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawan tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. Both the positive patients had travel history by the same train on April 19.

The first COVID-19 positive patient was discharged on April 15, while the second patient and the then the only active patient was discharged on April 25.

Also Read: 0 to 64 COVID-19 cases: How situation changed suddenly in Tripura

Did Tripura prepare for this outbreak?

Much before Tripura reported the first positive case, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb on April 2 visited AGMC and GBP hospitals to review the situation.

After reviewing the preparedness, the chief minister said, “All preparations are in place in the GBP hospital– one block having 20 seats including ICU beds has been kept closed. Besides, we are also on a move to arrange around 50 beds in IGM hospital as like as we arranged 50 beds in all districts.”

Currently, the state has more than 2,200 beds capacity to treat positive patients across the state in different COVID care centres, while decision to extend the capacity to 3,000 beds was also taken recently.

A mock drill being performed in GBP COVID-19 hospital in presence of chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb on April 2

Screening of incoming passengers

The state government started screening all incoming passengers from Bangladesh through Agartala-Akhaura integrated check post since January 29, much before the WHO announced COVID-19 as pandemic.

EastMojo correspondent visited the Agartala-Akhaura Integrated check post (ICP) to see the ground situation and it was found that over 600 passengers and tourists entering India through Tripura were being screened by the health department.

Later, with the numbers increasing in India, the state government started screening all air passengers at Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport and Agartala.

Also Read: Tripura govt adopts precautionary measures against Coronavirus

The outbreak of novel Coronavirus

A total of 5,185 numbers of samples was tested for the first time in state following which breaking all the previous records, Tripura on July 21 Tripura reported 254 new COVID-19 cases, with one COVID-19-related death, taking the state’s tally to 3,345.

The numbers of cases in Tripura for the first time increased after the state started a rapid antigen test across the state.

Soon after the novel coronavirus positive cases surged past the 3,000-mark, the Tripura government also decided to introduce the antigen test to all inpatient care (IPD) patients across the state.

Committees to review COVID-19 situation

Tripura government has formed three dedicated committees to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the state.

A Covid core group headed by Dr Radha debbarma, director of health and family welfare, with other senior doctors and experts as members was formed.

This committee will decide the clinical aspects while the strategic committee headed will propose ideas to the state government and health department.

The technical committee gives suggestions on treatment, laboratory and process. The core committee has been taking stock of the updates after every 15 days.

Decision to start plasma therapy

The state government on July 24 announced to soon start plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients shortly.

The decision was taken by the state government after a meeting with the health staff. However the implementation would take a little time.

Comorbidity and COVID-19 deaths

Tripura law minister Ratan Lal Nath said all the patients who have died so far due to COVID-19 had comorbidity due to which they became victims of the virus.

So far, the state has registered a total of 13 COVID-19 deaths. These include Sarajoy Debbarma, 38-year-old from Bidabill in Khowai district, who is the youngest to have succumbed to the virus.

Biswa Kumar Debbarma from Chachubazar was the first person to have died due to COVID-19. He had suffered a stroke a few months ago and was suffering from hypertension.

The second death was reported almost after a month on July 11 with the death of Anil Debbarma 72-year-old from Uttar Maharanipur, Khowai. He was also a patient of liver disease.

The latest with two more deaths was reported on July 26. The first death was reported in Udaipur, Gomati district hospital, second death was reported in ILS hospital, Agartala.

The government also warned citizens from spreading fake news with action against rumor mongering related to COVID-19 and Lockdown in state.

Health workers screening passegers on arrival at Agartala-Akhaura integrated check post

Tripura’s recovery rate

The small Northeastern state Tripura has recorded one of the highest percentages of recovery rate, which is around 60% as on July 26, while the highest was 80% on June 30, against the national average of 59.43% on July 1.

COVID-19 preparedness

Currently, Tripura has over 71,000 PPE kits, with 94 ventilators, 5.38 lakh 3 layer surgical mask, 92 thousand NN-95 face masks and other required medical equipment in stock.

Also Read: How 3 Northeast states dealt with reverse migration amid COVID-19

Compensation to health workers

In order to ensure security for the families of frontline workers, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb on April 10 announced jobs to families of the doctors, nurses and other health staffers, if anyone dies while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

In addition to that the state government also announced Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the deaths related to COVID-19.

Ccurrently, 235 persons are in facility quarantine and 3,830 in home quarantine. A total of 1,37,512 samples have been collected, out of which 1,36,416 have been tested.

So far, 3,919 persons have tested positive for the virus, while 2,362 persons were discharged after they recovered from the virus, with 13 deaths and 1,526 active cases so far.

The positivity rate stands at 2.85%, test per million at 34,124, while the recovery rate stands at 60.44% and mortality rate at 0.29% percent. Up to 126 persons were discharged from COVID care centres on Sunday.

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