Two inmates turn COVID-19 positive after initial report shows negative

All the 21 inmates in the community quarantine centre at Thamchet High School, Nongmeibung, were declared COVID-19 negative Tuesday

Two inmates of a quarantine centre in Nongmeibung, Manipur, who were earlier declared COVID-19 negative in initial report, turned out to be COVID-19 positive, triggering panic of community spread among the public, sources said on Wednesday. 

In what could be called an alleged oversight on the part of data entry operators, all of the 21 inmates in the community quarantine centre at Thamchet High School, Nongmeibung, were declared COVID-19 negative Tuesday around 1 pm in the initial report updated to ICMR. 

However, the corrected report updated around 10 pm Tuesday said that two inmates out of 21 in the said quarantine centre have tested positive for COVID-19. As informed by reliable sources, the two positive inmates have been shifted to the JNIMS COVID-19 care facilty on Wednesday afternoon. 

An inmate in the said quarantine centre told the Imphal Free Press that she was going through panic on whether she will contract the disease as one of the inmates who tested positive shared a room with her and two others. 

“As there is only one toilet and bathroom at the said quarantine centre, there is a greater risk of COVID-19 spread among the inmates,” she said and urged for retesting of all the inmates at the earliest even though the remaining 19 were tested negative. 

In the meantime, as per reliable local sources, the father of one inmate arranged a dinner on Tuesday for the inmates and volunteers at the quarantine centre to celebrate as all of them were shown negative in the initial report. 

Mingling among some of the inmates could have taken place during the dinner that was hosted before spotting the error in the initial report, said the source. 

On the brighter side, the discharge for the inmates was postponed till Wednesday, for the inmates to take part in the dinner even though the discharge process was underway. 

“Had they been discharged on Tuesday itself, there could have been further spread of COVID-19 when they reach their homes,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Imphal East CMO, Lourembam Indira informed the IFP that a meeting, participated by health officials, including those of RIMS and JNIMS, was convened on Wednesday and resolved not to update reports until it is confirmed as final.

She said that the initial report was accessed by someone and shared it on WhatsApp groups without the knowledge of JNIMS officials. 

In the meantime, Imphal East DC Rangitabali Waikhom has declared the vicinity of the said quarantine centre as a containment zone and has imposed restrictions on movement. 

First Published:June 10, 2020, 11:11 p.m.