Express News Service
GUWAHATI: As India fights the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an error of at least one in the official count of cases.
One patient in the Northeast has gone unreported even after he had tested positive. The 33-year-old man, who is a resident of Nagaland’s Dimapur town, was referred by a private hospital there to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). It was at the GMCH that his being infected with the virus was confirmed on April 12, hours after he was shifted here in a critical condition.
Oddly, despite public knowledge, there is no official record of him in either Assam or Nagaland.
Assam is not counting him as its case, ostensibly on the grounds that it was referred. Nagaland argues that he tested positive in Guwahati.
Assam’s figures, updated by the state’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter, do not include the case from Nagaland. Sarma told journalists, “I stand by my tweets.”
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio told this newspaper on Friday, “I cannot comment if it is the responsibility of Assam to count him. I don’t take the blame either (for not counting it as Nagaland’s case).”
He agreed that the case was referred but said the man was referred from Nagaland as a patient and not as a COVID-19 positive. So, those medical terms will come into effect, he said.
Rio said the man had travelled from Kolkata to Dimapur. Upon his arrival, he fell sick. He had different illnesses. So, he was attended to in two private hospitals. Finally, he was referred to Guwahati for further treatment. It was there that he was found to be coronavirus positive. Sixty people including his father, doctors, nurses, his servant, and others he came in contact with in Dimapur tested negative, the CM said.
“We are checking up with Assam. Since he was found positive in Guwahati, it is proper to record him as he is undergoing treatment there. If he is shifted to Nagaland, we have to keep that record with us. We will see in what manner it will go after he is discharged from the hospital,” Rio added.
Meanwhile, the man, who tested negative during the second test, turned out to be positive in the third test. The fourth test will be conducted soon.
Akash Deep Biswas, an Assam-born Ph.D. scholar at Scuola Normale Superiore at Pisa in Italy, who is doing a research on COVID-19 drug development, said a COVID-19 patient can test positive after testing negative.
“Yes, it can happen. The person tested positive can be cured and again he may have the same disease as antibodies against it might not have developed in the body,” Biswas said.