Currently, more tests are being conducted on all those who may have come in contact with Sikkim’s 1st COVID-19 patient Credit: Representational image

Gangtok: Up to 47 people, who may have come in contact with Sikkim’s first COVID-19 patient, have been identified. Also, state health department conducted Truenat testing on some of them at STNM Hospital, of which five came out as negative on Sunday morning.

Currently, more tests are being conducted on all those who may have come in contact with the patient.

Meanwhile, in the JNV Rabongla quarantine facility, a total of 192 patients are on board with as many as 10 health professionals since the outbreak of the virus.

The patient had commuted on a bus from New Delhi to Siliguri in West Bengal on May 17 and reached North Bengal on May 19.

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A total of 18 people had boarded the bus. Following this, they boarded an SNT bus with 4 others to be ferried to the Sikkim. “All these zones where they had gone have declared as containment zones, All the places have been well sanitized. Forty-seven have been identified to have come in contact with the patient and put into quarantine and their samples are being tested,” said a top police official.

However, upon inquiry at the quarantine facility in JNV Rabongla, a district official asserted they are waiting for the district collector of South Sikkim to arrive and issue necessary guidelines for the area to be declared as a containment zone.

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All those who were the first line of contact along with their contacts are being identified. “The driver has to be put under quarantine compulsorily and the same is being worked upon, his test will also be conducted. Yet, on the safety protocol, SNT buses have been modified to avoid contact of the commuters with the driver, so there is a chance he could be on the safer side, but we will identify and quarantine till the very last person,” added the police official.

Contact tracing so far has also found that no person from the police department had come in contact with the COVID positive patient. “There have been no contact among police personnel yet, we are merely regulating at borders, while screening and checking are veing done by health officials. We escort the vehicle but don’t board the same vehicle. Our police personnel are only regulating exit and entry,” said the official.

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“We don’t have that much manpower to put all in quarantine, if there is some contact with the patient. PPE is issued to those on the frontline at the border checkposts. Two PPEs are given to every police personnel at the borders and now also to those in containment zones, which are washable and are of good quality,” the official said.

Elsewhere, STNM outpost has been put on high alert with police personnel to be added if there is a need. Duty hours for such personnel have also been adjusted to 4 hours’ per shift. “It’s a hospital, people will be brought there, they themselves have to keep safe. We can’t keep people away from hospitals and quarantine centres. It takes two hands to clap,” added the police official.

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