High Covid positivity rate shocks Mizoram, Centre rushes team

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The tiny Mizoram with a small and scattered population has puzzled doctors and scientists as it continues to maintain a high COVID-19 positivity rate.

The hill state has so far recorded 71,922 cases, including 239 deaths. This is over 6.5% of the state’s population of 11.2 lakh.

Every single day, the state is recording around 1,000 cases. It now has 12,937 active cases. The positivity rate is in excess of 13%. The active ratio is 17.37% which is the highest in the country.

Alarmed by the exponential increase in the number of cases, the Centre has rushed a team of experts to the state.

Official sources attributed the high positivity rate to aggressive testing, mass testing and contact tracing.

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“We are conducting active searches for cases through contact tracing. There is mass testing covering all members of every locality. We don’t want to miss a single household,” Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, who is the state’s nodal officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, told The New Indian Express.

Given the situation, the state has constituted police contact tracing teams and emergency testing teams which are like flying squads. People suspected to be infected by the virus are mandatorily tested.

“Whenever we hear about somebody showing the symptoms, we send an emergency testing team to the person’s house and every member is tested. If the person showing the symptoms tests negative after a rapid antigen test, we make him or her undergo an RT-PCR test the very next day,” Dr Lalmalsawma said.

Stating that there is no denying the fact that COVID has continued to spread in communities in Mizoram, he said he was very sure the cases in other states might increase to a certain extent if they conduct the testing in the manner Mizoram is doing.

“It is predominantly the Delta variant of the virus responsible for the infection. We have not calculated but we assume that our COVID R-value should be between two and three,” Dr Lalmalsawma said.

He added that a two-member central team of experts was conducting a study and would leave the state after two-three days