A 40-year-old Buddhist monk in Arunachal Pradesh and an eight-month-old infant in Meghalaya died on July 6, taking the COVID-19 toll in the Northeast to 20.
Assam leads the table with 15 deaths, a 40-year-old man from Nagaon district losing the battle of life on July 7.
Arunachal Pradesh’s Health Secretary P. Parthiban said the monk from West Kameng district was undergoing treatment at the Tawang district hospital after returning from Delhi last month. He had renal complications.
Health officials said he was referred to the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) at Naharlagun near State capital Itanagar after testing positive on June 20. He died due to kidney failure and respiratory problems.
The monk was the second COVID-19 victim in the frontier State . The other was also from West Kameng district and suffering from a kidney ailment.
Meghalaya Health Minister Alexander L. Hek said the infant died hours after being admitted to the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences on July 6. He was referred from TRIHMS.
“The boy was referred for treatment of a different ailment. Unfortunately, his swab samples tested positive while those of his parents and the ambulance driver came out negative,” he said.
The first COVID-19 victim in Meghalaya was 69-year-old John L. Sailo Ryntathiang, who died at his own hospital on April 15.
Hospital, bank sealed
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on July 7 sought more cooperation from residents of principal city Guwahati in view of the “consistently high” number of positive cases.
Till July 6, the State recorded 12,522 cases with 4,623 of them active. Almost 22% of these (2,723) were detected since July 4 and Guwahati accounted for 1,927 of them.
Among the 598 who tested positive in Guwahati on July 6 were 30 employees in two buildings of State Bank of India’s head office for the northeast. Kamrup (Metropolitan) Deputy Commissioner Biswajit Pegu said the offices were declared as containment zones and sealed.
SBI officials said 86 of their employees have so far tested positive across its branches and complexes in the city.
A Catholic hospital in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh town was also sealed after 12 nuns, a doctor and a domestic help tested positive for COVID-19 on July 4. The hospital authorities said a superior who had travelled from Guwahati first tested positive on July 3.
In Nagaland, the major worry is Peren district, where the rate of infection has been 13%, compared to less than 3% for the entire State.
“The high rate of positive cases in Peren indicates not-so-satisfactory adherence to quarantine norms and protocols by inmates at the quarantine centres,” said Mmhonlumo Kikon, advisor to the State government.