Sikkim health Dr MK Sharma Credit: File image

Gangtok: Sikkim health minister Dr MK Sharma has become the latest patient of COVID-19 in the state.

Sharma got himself tested after he developed symptoms for COVID-19, after which the results came out to be positive today.

“I’m under isolation, and I’m fine. I appeal everyone not to panic and request those who came in contact with me (primary) ‘to self isolate’ and get tested after 7 days or if they develop symptoms,” he said soon after his results came out.

The minister, however, has declined getting admitted to the STNM Hospital’s COVID Ward for treatment. He has been staying in the STNM Hospital premises, which is less than a 5-minute drive.

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The minister developed symptoms of being feverish on Thursday evening, when he was returning from a funeral in South Sikkim. The funeral in contention was that of Sikkim Transport Minister Sanjit Kharel’s father. Following the funeral, he felt uneasy, after which he was suggested to undergo CoVID testing.

“Yes there are talks of him visiting the funeral of another minister’s father. So that tracing will be more difficult for us”, said Health Director-General Dr Pempa Tshering Bhutia to East Mojo.

“The Minister however has declined getting admitted to the STNM Hospital’s COViD Ward for treatment. He has been staying in the STNM Hospital premises in his residence, which is less than 5-minute drive. If the minister is comfortable and can take care of himself, he is just next to the hospital. He doesn’t have much problem hence he is inclining on home quarantine”, said State Health Director-General Dr Pempa Tshering Bhutia.

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Dr Bhutia further informed, “The Minister’s report came positive in RT PCR on confirmation. Firstly it came positive even on Truenat. Even I had met the Minister on Monday, so our tests will also be conducted, we aren’t sure if he got the virus by then.

The report came this evening, so from tomorrow morning we will start to contact tracing”.

The minister also paid a visit to CRH Manipal on August 17 meeting a series of health workers and Hospital management staffs. He held a meeting and took a tour of the upcoming VRDL lab at CRH Manipal with even a few journalists in attendance. The management staffs of the hospital and journalists asserted on the same and as a precautionary measure have taken up home quarantine as self-isolation.

The STNM Medical Superintendent Dr CS Sharma asserted that the minister had not met him or paid a visit to STNM Hospital in the last one week, ruling out the chances of exposure to STNM health workers.

Even the STNM official backed on the home quarantine decision taken by the minister. With the Medical Superintendent asserting, “Since he is in STNM Hospital premises, he will have doctors at his disposal. But no one has been designated on duty yet. He may reach out to us if he needs any aid amidst his self-isolation. His case does seem very mild so far”.

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