Sikkim health dept urges people to stay away from fake news

GANGTOK: Urging people not to give attention to fake news, the state health department has said that reports on family members of a contractual driver of the state administration testing COVID-19 positive as mere rumour.

Following the detection of COVID-19 positive on a driver at a screening centre at Rangpo on Sunday, there are rumours that his family members have also been tested positive.

However, Dr Pempa T Bhutia, health DG-cum-secretary said that the driver along with 13 others (non-SNT drivers) had been hired by the administration on a fixed rate. They were kept in a designated hotel (transit camp) in Rangpo since the time of their joining.

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The driver, who tested positive, had ferried one of the returnees to state and lodged him at Himalayan Pharmacy Institute Boys Hostel who had also been tested as positive on July 3.

Two other drivers in his group were also engaged in ferrying returnees to the quarantine centre at HPI Boys Hostel on the same day. The two drivers, however, tested negative for Covid-19.

The Contact Tracing Team immediately got into the act and lodged the two drivers (primary contacts) into the quarantine centre. Likewise, the wife and daughter of the Covid-19 positive driver were also being isolated in a quarantine centre as a precautionary measure. Their samples will be tested on Tuesday.

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The 11 remaining drivers lodged in the hotel (transit camp) in Rangpo will also be tested on Tuesday.

There was a fake news that the daughter of the driver has been mixing with people and is working as a salesgirl. However, the driver’s daughter is only three years old, clarified the secretary.

Dr Bhutia has appealed to the people not to believe in such rumours.

Speaking about the status of the 20 SSB jawans who had tested positive on the July 5, the DG-cum-secretary informed that out of a total of 64 jawans, 20 had tested positive, while the remaining 44 have tested negative.

However, they will again undergo a confirmatory test after seven days. Till then, they will continue to be lodged in the quarantine centre.

The other person, who had tested positive on July 5, was a Delhi returnee, who had travelled along with 11 other persons and was lodged in a paid quarantine centre in Gangtok. It is said that four other persons had also shared the same hotel.

The 15 primary contacts of the Covid-19 patient will be tested immediately, he informed.

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