That man from Tanzania
IFP Editorial: Whatever be the testimony of the Health Director Dr Rajo and his underlings that he was put under strict home quarantine upon arrival at Imphal, the un-supervised movements of the ‘person of interest’ from Tanzania and his contacts is now in the open according to the contact tracing report of the said person.
Updated on 29 Dec 2021, 9:08 pm
Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)
We had expressed our reservations about the time gap of 15 days between arrival of the returnee from Tanzania at Imphal airport and final detection of the Omicron variant. He touched down at Imphal Airport on December 13 and the test result of genome sequencing came only on December 27, the 15th day after arrival. He was not tested for Covid-19 upon arrival at the Imphal airport, although the African state of Tanzania was among the list of ‘at-risk’ countries. It was only on December 21 that he was tested on RT-PCR during home quarantine and three of his associates were also tested Covid-19 positive.
Although, the person came along with a negative certificate from Tanzania, he should have been tested again at Imphal on the day of arrival itself. Whatever be the testimony of the Health Director Dr Rajo and his underlings that he was put under strict home quarantine upon arrival at Imphal, the un-supervised movements of the ‘person of interest’ from Tanzania and his contacts is now in the open according to the contact tracing report of the said person.
In fact, the person was roaming around in his locality meeting neighbours, purchasing things from local shops and even moving beyond his locality. The contact tracing report had revealed that his immediate contacts had also been attending marriage ceremonies or private tuition and engaged in certain other activities in and around Imphal. Even some tile workers were engaged in work at his residence after he returned home.
We are indeed lucky that we have a laboratory facility for conducting whole genome sequencing at the Institute of Bio-Resources at Takyelpat in Imphal West which was opened during the second wave of the pandemic. If the facility was not here in Imphal, the samples would have to be referred to laboratories outside the state and it would have taken much more time for the result to arrive. The returnee from Tanzania was tested positive for Covid-19 on December 21 on RT PCR, although he arrived at Imphal on December 13.
The test sample was sent for Whole Genome Sequencing to the Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) Takyelpat and test results came only on December 27. So, it takes about a week to conduct the whole genome sequencing and get results. Now, we are awaiting results of genome sequencing of three of his close associates and contacts. These three persons have also been moving around attending public ceremonies, tuition centres and even birthday parties.
On the other hand, the Health directorate had issued a statement that the returnee from Tanzania was put under ‘strict home quarantine’ after his arrival at Imphal which should mean that his movements including his family members were monitored or contained within the framework of ‘home quarantine’ and it was not sadly so.
Now, the question comes as to who is enforcing or say supervising the ‘strict home quarantine’ protocol issued by the State Disaster Management Authority. Is it the Health department or the law enforcing agencies like the police? Did the Health department inform the law enforcing agencies to maintain strict vigil over the foreign returnees so that the protocol of ‘strict home quarantine’ is not violated or did the health authorities merely advise the returnees to maintain the protocol?
Whatever be the advice or instructions or directives, we have to fix responsibility for the ‘security’ lapse and endangering the public by way of negligence or lack of foresight. We would however say that it is criminal negligence on the part of the health authorities. Heads must roll and it is time to set an example.