GANGTOK: Sikkim recorded its highest spike ever with 408 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Of these, 122 monks from the Nyingma Institute in Lingtam, Martam, 4.5-km from Rumtek Monastery, tested positive for the virus.

The Nyingma Institute recorded an unprecedented number of positive cases days after 37 monks tested positive at the nearby Rumtek Monastery. Though the institute doesn’t come under the monastery, it’s close proximity and mutual exchanges between monks is being speculated as one of the reasons for the spread.

The institute had over 215 samples taken on Wednesday, of which 122 tested positive. The surge in cases also resulted in Sikkim recording the highest spike in the number of cases at 408 in a day. The total active cases in Sikkim have now reached 3,604.

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Tests being conducted at the Nyingma institute in Lingtam, Martam, 4.5-km from Rumtek Monastery.

Sikkim also scaled up testing over the course of the past week, with 1,495 new tests, of which 763 were RTPCR and resulted in 296 testing positive. At least 721 RAT tests were conducted and resulted in 110 positive tests. In 11 CBNAT-TRUENAT tests, 2 tested positive.

The overall COVID-19 tally in Sikkim also breached the 14,000 mark with 14,214 cases being recorded so far. Of these, 6,262 cases were recorded in May alone.

The East district of Sikkim, which also has the Nyingma institute, recorded 216 cases with 3,694 cases being recorded in May. West Sikkim recorded 97 new cases and 940 cases in May. South Sikkim recorded 75 cases, with 1,226 in May. North Sikkim recorded 20 new cases, taking the district tally to 250, with 117 cases recorded in May.

The COVID-19 death toll in Sikkim reached 240, with 103 deaths recorded since April 22 this year.

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