In an unprecedented move to prevent community transmission, the Mizoram would begin sample testing for returnees, who came from containment zones.
Ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) legislator and state health and family welfare board vice chairman Dr Z R Thiamsanga said the government issued an order making nasopharyngeal swab (sample) test at Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machine mandatory for all stranded people, who returned to the State from containment zones to prevent local and community transmission.
He said that decision was made following 12 people, whose Rapid Anti-body Test results showed non-reactive, have tested positive for novel coronavirus according to their nasopharyngeal swabs examination in RT-PCR machines.
“Samples of all the stranded people from containment zones, who are yet to return and have already reached Mizoram would be tested at laboratories. Those currently placed under quarantine, whom we felt not required laboratory test initially, will also be tested,” he said.
He said Rapid Antibody Test (RAT) were conducted on all returnees for surveillance purpose and samples test is require in order to diagnose COVID-19.
Thiamsanga, who is also chairman of medical operation team on Covid-19, said the government will procure four more RT-PCR machines apart from the existing machine at Zoram Medical College (ZMC) to meet the present testing requirement.
Two testing machines, one each from Manipur and National Health Mission (NHM), are expected to reach Aizawl by next week, he said.
He said that a private donor also donated Rs 21 lakh for the purchase of RT-PCR machine on Tuesday.
“Most of the new RT-PCR machines will be installed at ZMC. We hope to increase the testing ratio once the machines are installed,” he said.
The order issued by the government on Wednesday said that RT-PCR test will be conducted as much as possible for stranded people, returning from containment zones as a precautionary measure to prevent community spread.
Sample collection will be undertaken as per plan made by chief medical officer and district medical superintendents of respective districts, the order said.
District deputy commissioners will submit names of returnees and quarantine facilities where there are lodged to chief medical officers for immediate action, the order added.