The topographical isolation, less congestion of people and limited international migration are the key factors that have so far restricted the spread of coronavirus in Northeast.
According to experts less effective surveillance over domestic migrants also might be the other reason why detection of corona positive cases has been low in the region.
Compared to around 1,000 positive cases in India so far, two positive cases have been found in Northeast– one each in Manipur and Mizoram.
Health officials in Imphal and Aizawl said conditions of both the patients are “stable”.
While a 50-year-old Christian pastor from Mizoram tested positive for coronavirus , a 23-year-old Manipuri woman tested positive for the deadly virus.
The Mizo man had returned to Aizawl from Amsterdam, via Delhi and Guwahati on March 16 while the Manipuri girl returned from the United Kingdom on March 21 via Delhi, Kolkata and Agartala.
Renowned physician of northeast India Pradip Bhomik said geographical isolation and lack of modern transportation are “blessings in disguise” for the people of the northeastern region.
“Compared to metropolitan and important cities of India, the cities and urban localities in the northeastern states are less congested. Moreover, compared to the number of people in the region, the corona testing facilities and health infrastructure are not so bad, if not excellent,” said Bhowmik.
Assam’s Director of Health Services, Ratindra Bhuyan said there has to be a certain number of requirements in hospitals to enable them to qualify for conducting corona tests, as ICMR.
The ‘Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)’ test is essential for detecting the genetic material (RNA) of coronavirus.
Another Guwahati-based senior doctor Amrit Lal Saha said that less international migration and fewer international communications might be responsible for the limited spread of the COVID-19 in Northeast.
“I am not sure that how effective has been the surveillance over domestic migrant workers who returned to various states of the region mainly in Assam from different parts of India before the lockdown was enforced,” Saha said.
Assam’s Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the positive cases of novel coronavirus have been so far low in Northeast , but huge challenges lie ahead in combat the spread of the dreaded disease.