Ambulance driver who drove Tripura patients tests +ve

Ambulance driver who brought back Tripura patients from Chennai tests COVID-19 positive

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An ambulance driver who brought back some stranded patients of the state from Chennai has tested positive for COVID-19, senior minister Ratan Lal Nath said on Thursday.

Five persons from Udaipur town in Gomati district and Baikhora in South Tripura district went to Chennai for treatment but got stuck there as the lockdown was imposed. They hired an ambulance and the driver drove them over 3,200 km to reach Udaipur town on April 27.

They were screened at Churabari on Assam-Tripura border and allowed to enter the state since they had no symptoms. The driver was allowed to return as his pass was valid till April 28," Nath told reporters at the secretariat.

"The swab samples of the driver and the five passengers were collected for tests. The report of the sample of the driver, who is from Tamil Nadu, came in as COVID-19 positive," he added.

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The reports of the swab samples of the other five persons were negative, Nath, the spokesperson of the state cabinet, said.

The driver was located in Siliguri in West Bengal earlier in the day, he said.

The five persons are now undergoing quarantine in Udaipur, the minister said.

Though the reports of the five persons came in as negative, their samples would be tested again for reconfirmation. Their 14-day quarantine is not over yet. So, we shall test them again. Having no symptom doesnt mean one isnt infected by the virus," he said.

The government is also trying to find out if anyone other than the passengers came in contact with the driver, Nath said.

The minister said that about 40,000 people from Tripura are now stranded in different parts of the country, but so far only 6,000 have registered themselves with the state helpline to return home.

It is a tough task to bring all of them back to the state and there is a huge risk in allowing them to enter. Our government is providing all kinds of help to the stranded people," he said.


Tripura would soon start rapid testing for COVID-19, Nath said, appealing to people not to panic.

Nath urged the people of the state not to conceal any coronavirus-like symptoms and report to the authorities.

Tripura reported two COVID-19 cases and both the patients have recovered. At present, 307 persons are under surveillance in the state, including 231 in home isolation and 75 in quarantine centres. So far, 4,613 persons have been tested.

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