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Tamil Nadu driver who drove five from Chennai to Tripura tests positive for coronavirus

Written by Debraj Deb
| Agartala |

Updated: April 30, 2020 1:38:34 am


A blocked road at village Boiragi Para, on the outskirts of Agartala. (Photo: PTI)

An ambulance driver, who drove five Tripura residents stranded in Chennai back home earlier this month, has tested positive for Covid-19, cabinet spokesperson Ratan Lal Nath said here on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Nath said the five people, from Udaipur in Gomati district and Baikhora of South Tripura, were driven back home from Chennai. They crossed Churaibari checkpost at Tripura-Assam inter-state boundary in the northern district on April 27.

“Since they had no symptoms, they were screened and allowed inside. They reached Udaipur on the night of April 27. We had them under home quarantine and collected samples from all seven, including the two drivers. One of the drivers was from Tamil Nadu. He returned, since his pass was valid,” the minister said.

The driver was reported to have been found at Siliguri in West Bengal today. Nath said the test reports of all five passengers who travelled with him, and of the second driver, have come negative and there is no immediate risk. However, he added the passengers who travelled back from Chennai have been relocated to a quarantine centre, where they will be tested again.

“Their 14-day quarantine period is not over yet. So we shall test them again. Not having symptoms doesn’t mean one isn’t affected by the virus,” he said.

Meanwhile, everyone from Tripura who came in touch with the driver from Tamil Nadu is being identified. They will be tested.

The report comes in the midst of demands from students, patients and other people from the state, who are stranded in other parts of India, to be brought back home. Though only 6,000 such persons have registered with the state COVID helpline so far, Nath said he estimates around 30,000-40,000 people from Tripura are elsewhere in the country at present.

“That’s why we say that not everyone stranded elsewhere can be brought back easily. There is a huge risk in allowing them all to enter. Our government is providing all help to the stranded,” he said.

Nath also said Tripura would soon start rapid random community testing for Covid-19, and appealed to people to not panic. He also asked them to come out clean about any symptom and not hide it.

Tripura has 307 persons under surveillance, including 231 under home surveillance and 75 in institutional quarantine centers. As many as 4,613 persons have been tested in the state till date.

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