Negatives turning positive, Is catastrophe lying in wait?

SK Singh *

This July 15, the Deputy Commissioner of Imphal West district issued orders de-notifying as many as 26 locations, in the very heart of Imphal, most of which are quarantine centres as specific Containment Zones. The order also lifted the inherent restrictions after all the positive patients had been shifted to Covid-19 Care facilities.

The sequences of events of a particular person who tested positive in one Leikai, while in 'Home Quarantine' are rather intriguing. This particular person I am referring to, on return from Delhi tested positive and had undergone treatment in one of the designated treatment specialty. His condition improved, tested negative and as per standard protocol sent home for 'Home Quarantine' for a obligatory period of 14 days.

Belonging to a, one could term, conscious family, the parents arranged for his home quarantine, totally isolated, on the top floor. It had separate bath and separate arrangement for everything from foods to tea; had his independent waste disposal facility, mostly setting on fire whatever can be disposed off. They even thought of isolation for 21 days, 7 days in excess of the mandatory 14 days.

This additional confinement of 7 more days was expected to add to the safety index for both the patient and the family members around. The person stayed confined to his flat on the top floor. He did his daily chores alone away from the members of the family. He had reportedly never been down the floor during the 21 days' isolation, having no instances of contact, let alone mixing up.

Excessive personal care was conceived by the family by voluntarily self-extending the period of isolation from the prescribed 2weeks to 3 weeks. Given the precautions, aspects of isolation followed by the patient and his parents, an excessively cautious family thought it safer still to go for a 'RETEST' from the appropriate authority.

On contacting the Medical Department for such a test, they were firmly advised to break the confinement, as a second test was not needed, given the protocol followed by the patient keeping note that this patient tested negative 21 days back. An adamant family, still apprehensive, contacted the local MLA who happened to be the Speaker and through his good offices, a test was conducted finally.

And, lo, the patient turned out 'POSITIVE', again. Imagine the scenario:- a negative patient, duly discharged, briefed comprehensively by the Medics and following the precautionary measures extra-religiously, as prescribed by the authority, completed home quarantine for 21 days, 7 days in excess of the mandatory 14, turned positive on retesting. How could this impossibility turned out to be a reality?

This development was on the face of the following ground scenario:

i) the patient turned negative after treatment in a designated hospital and therefore released;
ii) the patient had to complete home quarantine for 14 days and yet, he completed 21 days' isolation instead, as an added precaution;
iii) the Hospital was approached for a retest to make doubly sure that he in effect was finally free from the deadly virus;
iv) the Medical authorities reportedly took it easy, stressed that a second test was not necessary at all and rather encouraged the parents to let free the person from further isolation.

A concerned parent however overacting they could be, were not feeling safe despite complying with all these rigorous protocol. They hunted down influential people, finally landed at the Speaker's. A second test changed the course of events that could have led to 'Local Transmission' for sure had the family let free the boy, had foods together after all those 14+21= 35 days in isolation. Thank God, the parents insisted on retest.

Imagine the ground scenario in the house of the patient. The family members of the three houses, closely built, all brothers, had around 33 members including about 10 children, one hardly a year old. After the patient was picked up by the Medical Department for treatment, the next day all the adults were put to test. Fortunately all tested negative.

The big question now is what is the probability that not even 1% of 1235 persons i.e. 12, of those discharged, as on (19 July) would turn positive? One occurrence we have just noticed. Couldn't there be others who had not been influential enough to get a re- test on completion of home quarantine and therefore as per the medical authorities' advice came in contact with his or her family?

Couldn't there be possibilities of such persons spreading the virus in the locality unknowingly? Has the Medical Department been keeping close watch on such patients? One is not very sure as the proceedings are as they are.

Negatives turning positive even after strict enforcement of the fineries of standard protocol are quite a serious matter; cannot just be left to chances. The Medical Department needs to make public on their follow up action on such patients. They cannot shy away from working out this statistics, now that some semblance of 'community transmission' has set in already in parts of the state.

Mere pc of rate of recovery rate at 63 or around, better than those of other countries, like the USA or Brazil, is not enough. The Singjamei case we discussed here before is a strong reminder on the perilous issue to the GOM.

An equally perilous situation may be in the making. Are we sure that majority of those discharged for home quarantine have a 'safe' place to stay for two weeks? Are we also confident that most would have separate bathrooms, separate bedrooms, to start with? The answer could be easily, 'NO', and a big 'NO'. Wouldn't then this lead to local transmission?

India's position this day is totally precarious. Ranking below 10 half a month back, it ascended to 4th a week back. This day it hovers around 3 but all set to seize 2nd spot sooner than later. Its 'new cases' at 40,153 far exceeds that of USA at 30,641 and worry fully 39 times that of Brazil, the 2nd spot holder reporting only 1,389.

The Manipur situation in terms of personal hygiene, level of family consciousness, affordability of all the minimum care can equally be disastrous.

Now that 'Local transmission' has set in, rather such cases are on the rise, a comprehensive review of the present so- called 'protocol' is called for, that too urgently. News is around of such local transmission cases reaching 90 by evening of July 19. The lone case of Thoubal where five of a family testing positive is certainly a pointer to the impending peril in line.

And going by the degree of transmission, more are lying in wait around us. Of samples of 80 persons put to Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) in Thoubal Hospital, 10 turned out to be positive. These are confirmed as close contact cases only. Something serious is in the making.

Community Transmission, the next and the ultimate final stage or the dreaded phase, may be lurking around, given the ground realities we face. The country as a whole too is in the grip of community transmission, according to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IMA.

The GOI may be hesitant to admit to this apprehension, the facts are aplenty visible. We are not far behind. Some drastic containment measure, some intensive 3T (tracing, testing and treatment) measure is called for in our state too, before further worsening the situation.

* SK Singh wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on July 22 2020 .

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Addressing the Zeliangrong question
  • COVID-19 Status 10 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Ramkashing, Sinneihoi, Aton: eMing
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Women plug food supply gap during lockdown
  • NGO Studies (MAINS) program in South Korea
  • Initiate inquiry for Hospital refusal
  • Love in the Hard Times :: Poem
  • From cluster to local transmission
  • Negative remarks on positive activities
  • MK PB Singh, 1st CM & Mizo agitation
  • COVID-19 Status 9 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Azolla: An organic farmer's friend
  • Corona Came Calling... :: Poem
  • Manipur gi sakkhangbidraba yelhoumee
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Thousand questions to life but.. one answer
  • Time to take all into confidence
  • Yaoshang Thabal Chongba #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 8 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Impact of Covid-19 on mobile phone users
  • International Day of Indigenous Peoples
  • A call against systematic inequalities
  • August Diary :: Poem
  • A tale of Friendships Unlocked !
  • A Nuclear Free Future
  • Stay positive on Northeast plan
  • Is MSPDCL taking advantage of COVID-19
  • Folk Dance @Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 7 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Written obituary :: Poem
  • Truth unearth by COVID-19 pandemic
  • Clarification from SKY Hospital
  • COVID-19: Orders - 7 Aug: Govt of Manipur
  • Children's psychology & lockdown intervention
  • No confidence & godfather
  • Death in childbirth in the 21st century !
  • Need for a suitable pandemic model
  • Phuba Khuman in Senapati dist #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 6 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Thoubalphobia- Malemnganbi's Child Delivery
  • Why not establish veterinary college, Manipur
  • India-Myanmar Convergence :: Webinar
  • National Education Policy : A New Horizon
  • Wanted : Total figure of local transmission
  • Lets appreciates the thousands heroes
  • Become an Amateur Astronomer
  • COVID-19 Status 5 August: Govt of Manipur
  • BIG 17th call : Biotech Ignition Grant
  • Maya Kuki- 3 titles at IAWA India 2020
  • 2020 :: Poem
  • What is Intellectual Property Right (IPR)?
  • Art of running a coalition Govt
  • Traditional Raas Dance #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 4 August: Govt of Manipur
  • 2 from Manipur clear Civil Services Exam
  • Education Policy: Prospects & Way Forward
  • Appeal to stop Chromite mining
  • Agri-enterprises for Atmanirbhar North-East
  • Changes to make-up during COVID-19
  • Time to act sensibly
  • Barricading or brainstorming?
  • Tarao Laimanai, Chandel #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 3 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Ravi's take on China factor in NE Insurgency
  • Opportunities in post COVID days
  • Shifting of drug supply trend in Manipur
  • Hope in COVID Era !! :: Poem
  • Press Communique from NPF [3 Aug]
  • Stand on ST demand
  • Culturals @ Sangai Fest 2019 #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 2 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Misinterpretation of Naga Political Settlement
  • Home returnees, unemployment & ILPS
  • NEP to adversely affect future of North-east
  • Conflicts of laws on Child Marriage & POSCO
  • His Stoic Endurance :: Poem
  • 'Declare relatives working in Naga movement'
  • Rise from July 1 to August 1
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • COVID-19 Status 1 August: Govt of Manipur
  • CCC @ Khongnangkhong [Aug 1]: Gallery
  • Where are the men in family planning ?
  • Asymptomatic & Rapid Antigen Testing
  • Cosmic Lover :: Poem
  • Incremental benefit of cleaning Nambul River
  • Why only 5 Kg of rice to cardholders?
  • Imphal View from Nongmai Ching #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Id-Ul-Azha celebrated by Meitei Pangal
  • COVID-19 & its detection strategy
  • Physical Education & Sports @ MU
  • Naming the COVID vaccine
  • Withdraw MoUs signed for mining
  • More deaths, more concern
  • Ailing Nambul River recovering
  • Dr TS Gangte: Pioneer of higher education
  • COVID-19 Status 30 July : Govt of Manipur
  • August Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Hand sanitizer @Kakching [Jul 29]: Gallery
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • Orders / Memo on 30 July : Govt of Manipur
  • National Education Policy 2020
  • A Golden Jubilee Reunion :: Poem
  • Employment options in Insurance Industry
  • The Political life of the State
  • Recording death tally at four
  • Hentak :: An indigenous Manipuri food
  • COVID-19 Status 29 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Enforcement of COVID-19 Guidelines
  • My Love :: Poem
  • LPG management and supply
  • International Faculty Development Program
  • High-end Forensic Geology in crime scenes
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • Manipur on the map of COVID death
  • Checking corruption: greatest joke of the year
  • Imphal during lockdown [26 July] #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Plantation is no less a serious business
  • COVID-19 : Impact on mobility of women
  • Appeal to stop Mining in Ukhrul, Kamjong..
  • Making sense of lockdown
  • Non-Discrimination in combating COVID-19
  • Zeiladjang @ Makuai, Tamenglong : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Chassad & the Question of Justice
  • Online Training program for Police Officer
  • Proposal of Online Education: Its impact
  • The walls of Roman Londinium
  • Reminiscence of coming :: Book Review
  • Seeking to set house in order
  • The dawn of a new-normalcy
  • Imphal during lockdown [26 July] #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Delimitation amasung yelhoumee Meetei..
  • Investigative Journalism training conducted
  • Gas Balloons :: Poem
  • Career in insurance: Jobs for millions
  • Meet model teacher helping students
  • Understanding total figure of 2212
  • Manipur Art Fest 2019 #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 July : Govt of Manipur
  • PM calls for Vocal for Local to Manipur
  • Makhol_ Discussing Arts E2 with Astad Deboo
  • Society :: Poem
  • IQs & EQs of politicians
  • Living with COVID 19
  • 'Blood donors should be welcome'
  • Bracing for the worst
  • Princess & Political Agent launch #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Virus Fabrics Spray by Kakchingtambam Kiran
  • Tales from a conflict zone :: Poem
  • Why Manipur senior IPS officer shot himself
  • Anti Defection Law: Big Debate
  • COVID-19 vaccine : So near and yet so far
  • Central observers here after trip to Delhi
  • The limitation on Free Speech
  • Impact of COVID-19 on transgender
  • COVID-19 Status 23 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Love Story of Tonu Laijing Lembi
  • 29th NAMA Virtual Convention 2020
  • Understanding disasters & disaster mgmt #2
  • Seeking NHRC to intervent in Akhil Gogoi case
  • Impacts of COVID-19 on agriculture : Paper
  • Lockdown & opening doors to outsiders
  • In search of the elusive leader
  • Anti-Repression Day #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Race Apart ? :: Poem
  • Of political instability, COVID & war on drug
  • Preventing skin damage due to face masks
  • Issues raised by NPF Legislature Wing
  • Webninar : How to develop skills in writings
  • Nonsensical rush for fuel
  • When the virus starts attacking
  • Manipur & the Lushai Expedition, 1871-72 #3
  • COVID-19 Status 21 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Negatives turning positive, catastrophe in wait?
  • Environmental change : Uttarakhand : Rvw
  • Empathy Campaign at Imphal Airport
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Liezietsu [21 Jul]
  • Responsible conduct- Jiribam to Thoubal
  • BJP may be in trouble..
  • The Princess & Political Agent launch : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Governor & Maharani launch Binodini's Book
  • Mount Koubru: Its dying glory, & way forward
  • Govt expenditures on education in Manipur
  • 2nd Online Career counseling in IT
  • The last of the oaks :: Poem
  • Rising cases of infection
  • Manipur today is living on mercy of Delhi
  • HSE Toppers - Commerce stream : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #3: Gallery
  • Loktak Lake: A gem perishing front of our eye
  • Man behind 'Save Nambul'
  • X-rays and applications
  • COVID-19 pandemic & existential crisis
  • Training programme on mushroom cultivation
  • Best result in last three years
  • HSE Toppers - Science stream : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Understanding disasters & disaster mgmt #1
  • Salam Sangita : NE Women Success Stories
  • Subconscious Mind in COVID Era :: Poem
  • In quest of leadership
  • 4 BJP Ministers' visit to Delhi
  • HSE Toppers - Arts stream : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Between hospitals and hope
  • War on drugs: A losing battle in Manipur
  • Rays of the Setting Sun :: Poem
  • What actually LOP meant & intended : NPF
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu
  • Posers over Delhi trip
  • The face of justice
  • Class XII Result : Highest Marks
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • Class XII Result : District PC
  • Class XII Result : Science
  • Class XII Result : Arts
  • Class XII Result : Commerce
  • COVID-19 Status 16 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Training programme on mushroom : Gallery
  • Diplomacy in Power & Leadership
  • PPE distributed to Community Health Centre
  • Think population studies as career
  • Intensify agitations as Govt fails to act
  • The Jiribam and Thoubal experience
  • Discovery of Thangjing hill range waterfall
  • Anti-Repression Day #1 : Gallery
  • Accelerating rights of women, post-COVID
  • Heritage Park @ Sangai Festival : Gallery
  • EEVFAM Foundation day : Gallery
  • Mining MoUs & Concerns in Manipur
  • Licypriya low-cost 'Face Shields' : Gallery
  • Airlifting of organic Pineapples : Gallery
  • 9th Manipuri Film Awards (MANIFA) Result
  • Yaoshang Halankar @BijoyGovinda #2: Gallery
  • Manipur & the Lushai Expedition, 1871-72 #2
  • Barak waterfall @ Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • Kanglen Aarti katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Eikhoigi Puwarini Nambul Turel #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur & the Lushai Expedition, 1871-72 #1
  • Takhelchangbam Kunjabihari : Wari Liba
  • I Rise :: Film Scenes : eRang
  • Class X (HSLC) Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class X Exam 2020 : Merit List
  • Class X Exam 2020 : Result Sheet
  • Class X Exam 2020 : Subject Toppers
  • Class X Exam 2020 : Statistics Abstract
  • Motsillaba Mingsel :: eRang Photos
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script