Finally the COVID-19 situation in Mizoram is showing signs of improvement, with the number of new cases dropping below 200 on Monday, though the state still has one of the highest test positivity rates in the country.
In the past 24 hours, the state detected 158 new cases after screening 2,613 people, logging a positivity rate of 6.05 percent, according to the government data updated in the evening. It is a sharp decline from 572 cases recorded on Sunday, with a test positivity rate of as high as 9.47 per cent. On Saturday, the state had registered 745 new cases.
The daily test positivity rate in the north-eastern state, however, is still much higher than the national average of 1.43 per cent recorded on Monday.
The pandemic scenario in the state was so alarming till recently, that on October 11, the state government had asked people to wear masks even at home, while asking family members not to dine together, as part of a 10-day long special drive to curb the spread of the disease.
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The drive was launched after a four-member central team headed by epidemiologist Dr Vinita Gupta of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), recommended, among others, the revision of standard operating procedures (SOP) for COVID-19 test and home isolation.
The team had visited the state on October 5 to assess the pandemic situation as, since mid-September, Mizoram had been adding on an average 1,500 cases daily to its COVID-19 tally, despite high vaccination and testing numbers.
Over 12 lakh people in Mizoram have received at least one dose the COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s population is estimated to be more than 13 lakh in 2021. Over five lakh people have even got both the vaccine doses. The state has also so far tested 12,69,970 samples, which is almost equal to its population number.
The special containment drive seems to be now bearing results, with a sharp drop in the number of new infections. The state now has 7,611 active cases. But the high positivity rate remained a matter of concern.
The state government attributed the high positivity rate to “targeted and aggressive” testing.
“We have been meticulously doing contract tracing and also mass testing of vulnerable populations. This explains why the positivity rate is high in the state,” said state Health Minister R Lalthangliana. The Mizoram Police is doing the contract tracing.
Lalthangliana said that it was because of the aggressive testing, which helped in the early detection of infections, that the mortality rate in the state is among the lowest in the country.
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So far, 412 persons have died of COVID-19 in the state, with a fatality rate of 0.35 per cent. Among the states and Union Territories, only Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have a lower death rate (0.04 per cent).
Meanwhile, most of the other north-eastern states, barring Manipur, continue to log daily positivity rate below one per cent. As per the Manipur government’s data, 41 new cases have been detected on Monday, screening 1,280 samples, logging a test positivity rate of 3.2 per cent, slightly higher than the national average.
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In Assam, where the number of cases had slightly increased after Durga Puja, the number of new cases increased from 139 on Sunday to 326 on Monday. The spike in cases is however due to a sharp rise in testing. The state conducted 50, 253 tests between Sunday and Monday, while between Saturday and Sunday, only 19,713 samples were tested.
The test positivity rate in the state as per the Assam government data released on Monday evening was 0.65 per cent, a dip from 0.71 per cent on Sunday.