AGARTALA, May 10 - The spike in COVID-19 cases continued in Tripura with 17 more jawans of the BSF�s 86th battalion testing positive, raising the State�s tally to 132.
Barring a few, most of the COVID-19 patients in Tripura are BSF personnel posted at Jawaharnagar in Dhalai district.
As the situation is slipping out of control, the State government has decided to conduct intensive tests in certain BSF battalions and posts along the Indo-Bangla border.
Apart from the BSF installations in Jawaharnagar, tests were also conducted at BSF BOPs in Longthari Valley subdivision today. An elaborate plan has been chalked out to conduct tests in the BOPs manned by the force�s 31st battalion.
The jawans of the 31st battalion are deployed along the Indo-Bangla border in South Tripura district adjoining Bangladesh�s Ramgarh Upa Zilla, which has been declared as a contentment zone by the Bangladesh government.
Sources said a decision has been taken to conduct COVID-19 tests at all vulnerable BSF battalion headquarters and posts in the wake of the outbreak at its two battalion headquarters in the State.
�In the worst-affected Dhalai district, a total of 276 swab samples have been collected today as part of the intensive sample collection drive following the outbreak. It will continue for the next few days,� said an official.
Till date, 8,809 samples have been collected of which 8,340 have been tested and results of 8,221 samples came out negative. Two COVID-19 patients have recovered in the State.
Meanwhile, a special train carrying 1,200 persons, who were stranded at various parts of Karnataka, started its journey to Tripura today.
The State government is in close contact with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam to evacuate its stranded people. As on today, around 33,000 people from Tripura are stranded in 11 States due to the lockdown.
The government would bring back all the stranded people in a phased manner. �Among the stranded people, we are giving priority to patients, students and pilgrims,� the official said.
IANS adds: Meanwhile, the experts from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would study the huge coronavirus infection among the Border Security Force (BSF) troopers and their family members as the positive cases already climbed to 132, top officials said.
In all 121 BSF men of two battalions � 138th and 86th � and 10 family members � five children and five women � and a BSF civilian mess worker were infected by the virus in eight days in northern Tripura�s Dhalai district. Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Sanjay Kumar Rakesh said that a high- level team from NCDC would soon visit Tripura to study the high rate of coronavirus infection among the BSF jawans and their kins.
Responding to the state government�s requests, the NCDC experts would study the cause of COVID-19 infection among the central paramilitary force in Tripura,� Rakesh told IANS. He said that during a discussion (through video conferencing) with Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday, the issue was discussed and requests for additional COVID-19 testing laboratory in Tripura.
�Besides additional COVID-19 testing laboratory, we have sought additional ventilators and testing kits. The minister was very positive towards our needs and problems,� the Additional Chief Secretary said. The Health Minister held several hours long discussion through video conference with the ministers and top officials of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim and reviewed the status of COVID-19 in the northeastern states along with the measures being taken for its containment and management.