Covid 19 spike: Tripura issues fresh curbs, mask mandatory, 37 positive patients missing  

Agartala: The government of Tripura has decided to issue fresh curbs to contain the surge in Covid-19 cases. The decision was taken during a state-level task force meeting chaired by Chief Secretary JK Sinha.

The revenue department of Tripura is expected to issue a set of directives on Tuesday to ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is maintained in crowded areas, Additional Secretary Tripura Revenue Department said on Monday.

“There are three basic decisions that have been taken during the meeting. Wearing face mask has been made mandatory at all levels starting from schools to market places. Covid-appropriate behavior has to be strictly followed and the health department will ramp up mass testing in crowded places for early detection,” he said.

Speaking on the issue, State Disease Surveillance Officer Deep Debbarma said, “After a gap of eight to nine months, the cases are rising again to an alarming level. On July 04, the positivity rate was recorded to be 1.79 percent while on July 10, it took a steep leap to 7.12 percent. After September 2021, the Covid graph fell drastically and we have passed months without a single case. Some isolated cases have been detected but that there was no heavy rise.”

Describing Agartala Municipal Corporation as the epicenter of the spread, Debbarma said, “The highest number of cases are being detected in West Tripura district because of Agartala Municipal Corporation areas. In the last one week, as many as 131 positive cases were found and 82 of them are from West Tripura. The rest are divided but Sepahijala, which is the closest district to AMC areas, has the second highest cases. To ascertain the nature of transmission, we will increase targeted testing in crowded areas so that we can get a clear picture of the imminent situation.”

According to Debbarma only eight patients out of the total 131 are hospitalized at AGMC whereas others are in home isolation.

“We are giving preference to home isolation because if the patient is mildly symptomatic, he should stay in his comfort zone for getting cured in an ideal timeframe. But, unfortunately, we have failed to get in touch with 37 people who had tested positive to the virus.”

“Their samples came positive but the phone number they had registered with the health department was not reachable or found to be not in use. Thus, these patients could not be informed of their health status. However, we are trying to connect with them as soon as possible,” Debbarma added.

According to the data of the health department, among the 131 positive patients, seven patients were administered with only one dose of vaccine, 74 of them received both the jabs and 11 people did not receive any vaccine.

“Patients of all age groups are found to be susceptible to this new transmission and we must understand the gravity of the system. We already have three patients belonging to the age group of zero to ten years,” he cautioned.

Debbarma also informed that no restrictions on travels are being capped right now because maximum cases that are being found to have no travel history. Penalties would also not be imposed with immediate effect as the government will go for an intensive awareness campaign for the next one week, he added.

Senior virologist and head of AGMC virology lab Tapan Majumder, on the other hand, described the fresh spike of cases as an early signal of a fourth wave.

“Our state has done extremely well in the vaccination coverage. And, the way cases dropped with the positivity rate slumping down as low as 0.50 percent, we thought we may avoid facing the fourth wave. But, the way cases are rising again it could be seen as an early sign for the fourth wave,” he said.

Dr Majumder also said that the health department is much prepared this time with high-end technology like genome sequencing machines installed at GBP hospital Agartala.

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