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Manipur purchases 50,000 antigen kits, ramps up testing following spurt in Covid-19 cases

Health Minister L Jayantakumar said as Manipur is a poor state with limited resources, the pandemic and resultant lockdown had badly affected its economy.

Published: 08th August 2020 04:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2020 04:46 PM   |  A+A-

State Health Minister L Jayantakumar at the distribution of dedicated ambulances to different districts (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The spurt in the number of Covid-19 cases has made Manipur government ramp up testing.

It is the last state in the Northeast to record a Covid-19 death. There were hopes initially that the state will remain largely unaffected but that has been proven wrong.

A young woman, who is a student of the Bristol University in the UK, was the state’s first Covid-19 patient. She has recovered since. As per the latest figures, the state has altogether 3,466 cases including ten deaths. There are now 1,530 active cases. The state has a population of 27.2 lakh, according to the 2011 census.

“In the initial days, we had limited facilities. We used to send samples to Pune for retests and then wait for the results to come. We now have the infrastructure in place that is helping us to conduct 2,500 tests a day. So far, 94,808 tests have been conducted with the state’s positivity rate being recorded at 3.39%,” Health Minister L Jayantakumar said.

The state is conducting RT-PCR along with antigen tests. The Minister said the 50,000 antigen kits, which arrived in the state on Friday, would help ramp up the tests.

“We had set up quarantine centers at all assembly segments and till date, some 39,000 returnees have been quarantined at community level, 19,500 at institutional quarantine centres and 2,500 at paid quarantine centers. So, we have handled around 61,000 returnees so far,” Jayantakumar said.

The Minister said as Manipur is a poor state with limited resources, the pandemic and resultant lockdown had badly affected its economy. In May, he had written to Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan seeking funds of Rs. 100 crore to tackle the disease.

Jayantakumar said even as the state was tackling the pandemic, another issue it was concerned about was the treatment of non-Covid patients. He said the government had issued an order making it mandatory for all hospitals to admit non-Covid patients. A pregnant tribal woman had died two days ago after she was allegedly denied admission by five hospitals.

Manipur-Myanmar Border To Remain Sealed

The Manipur government is in no hurry to open up the state’s border with Myanmar for trade. Jayantakumar said the state government was closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the state as well as the neighbouring country.

“An immediate opening up of the border is not tenable as Myanmar is also affected by the pandemic and the country has limited healthcare facilities,” the Minister said.

A sizeable number of the traders in Manipur depend on border trade with Myanmar. The government initially enforced a ban on the import of packaged food items. Later, it sealed the border. Goods falling under 22 categories, both perishable and non-perishable, are allowed to be imported from Myanmar. The goods are mostly food items, including fish and fruits.

Ahead of the outbreak of Covid-19, the everyday import of goods via the Myanmar border was to the tune of Rs 10 crore. Apart from the traders, the transporters are also at the receiving end.

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