Four more test positive for COVID-19 in Ladakh, tally crosses 50-mark

Leh:Four more people tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh even as the first COVID-19 testing laboratory was inaugurated by parliamentarian Jamyang Tsering Namgyal on Monday, officials said.
The state-of-the-art bio-safety level 2 (BSL-2) laboratory was set up at Chushot Yokma and is the first molecular laboratory in the region, which will be used for testing HIV, Tuberculosis, Swine flu, and Hepatitis-B after COVID-19 pandemic is over, they said.
With the addition of the four patients, who are from Kargil district, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the union territory has reached 52, the officials said.      However, 43 of the patients have already recovered and discharged from hospital, while the condition of all the remaining 10 active patients – nine in Kargil and one in Leh — is stated to be “stable”, they said.
While three of the latest cases tested positive on Sunday, another Kargil resident who had returned from Jammu recently and had given his sample before returning to his home town tested positive on Monday, the officials said, adding all the four have been isolated at a COVID-19 hospital at Kargil.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate, Leh, Sachin Kumar Vaishya has issued an order regarding scaling down of the containment zones.
“Due to non-reporting of any COVID-19 positive case after the passage of 28 days from the Bogdang containment zone, the containment shall now be restricted only to the Gunesthang village of Nobra Sub-division with immediate effect till further order,” Vaishya said.
“Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Nubra shall make immediate necessary arrangements to de-contain the rest of the area,” Vaishya, who is also Chairman District Disaster Management Authority, said in the order.
Congratulating the people of Ladakh on getting the first of its kind COVID-19 testing laboratory, Namgyal termed it as a milestone in the history of health care services particularly in the fight against the coronavirus in the region.
There is a long-term plan of upgrading it to test genetic disease, cancer markers and research.
Namgyal hailed the special support to Ladakh by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan by taking an immediate decision in the Union Cabinet meeting for setting up of a COVID-19 laboratory in the UT.
“This achievement is the result of the repeated support from the UT Ladakh Administration headed by Lt Governor R K Mathur and the Council headed by the CEC Gyal P Wangyal,” he said.
The MP also appreciated the team of doctors and lab technicians and specially mentioned Professor of Bio Chemistry at AIIMS, New Delhi Kunzang Chosdol’s approach for coming forward to render her expertise for the people.
Expressing gratitude to test centres in New Delhi for testing all the samples of Ladakh, he said that the new laboratory would be used for extending assistance beyond the boundaries of Ladakh, if the need arises.
Director Health Service, Ladakh, Phuntsog Angchuk, said the laboratory is completed in all respects and all test standardisation is successfully completed.
“Reporting shall be done after permission from ICMR in a few days. As much as 20-30 tests will be conducted in the initial days which will gradually increase with the proficiency as well as the increase in the number of staff,” Angchuk said.
With four technicians, who had been trained in Chandigarh recently, and two doctors on board, Chosdol said her team is determined to serve the people with dedication and zeal.

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