A 46-year-old man, who was tested Covid-19 positive, died on Friday in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. The state has recorded the COVID-19 related death toll to over 1620.
This was informed by Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh after reviewing the Covid scenario in the state.
"A death has occurred in West Garo Hills. He (the deceased patient) came very late to the hospital," Lyngdoh told reporters.
She however said, "Whether or not this one case was a case of death due to Covid directly or was it because of some other comorbidity status of the patient will be ascertained at the earliest."
The minister also requested people to reach out to the nearest facility if they feel that their symptoms are way beyond their redressal as early detection and redressal of the problem is very important.
Lyngdoh also informed that the death audit committee is already in place and said, "We will ensure that we will send all details to the audit committee to ensure whether or not it was a direct Covid related death."
Stating that the government does not want to panic the public, the minister however said in the event of this one case, the government would like to take all necessary precautions to prevent spread of the disease.
As on Friday, the state has a total of 17 active Covid cases of which 10 are in West Garo Hills, 5 in East Khasi Hills and 2 in West Jaintia Hills.
Also stating that Covid cases are well under control, Lyngdoh said that there has been no sign that this would take a pandemic situation again adding that "we feel that this is not going to happen but nevertheless one death has occurred, we thought that we should share this with you."
She further announced that the Health department has requested for immediate implementation of all precautionary measures and said, "We request the public at large to kindly adhere to Covid practices so that we may be able to contain the situation and ensure that it does not become a problem. Please wear masks in crowded places, cough with etiquette, wash your hands, use sanitisers.
People with symptoms like cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste, smell, breathlessness or other respiratory symptoms should immediately reach out to the first testing centres. Testing centres are made available at all block levels, all tertiary care centres will have all these facilities."
The minister also assured that the state is in a prepared stage to tackle the Covid situation in the state and said people coming from areas with high positivity rate are requested to take personal precautionary measures which include self-isolation.
With regards to the availability of vaccines in Meghalaya, Lyngdoh informed that a meeting will be chaired by the chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday next, to take a call on the matter.
"Now, the policy on vaccines will be again taken up on Monday when the chief minister will also be available to advise us accordingly, we will then give further information as to what will be the stand of this government on the vaccines," she said while informing that the Government of India had already indicated it is not going to provide any vaccines and that vaccines or 'the third dose or booster dose' will have to be procured by the state.
When asked, the minister said, "Covid vaccine is a voluntary decision taken by the citizens. We cannot push or force doses on citizens until and unless they so wish to. So we leave it to the public to decide that is why we are yet to take a call as to what will be the formula that the government would propose. We will be sitting with the chief minister on Monday and we will have a better detail for you at that point of time."
She however maintained that the covid vaccine has never been made compulsory for the public and that it is purely voluntary on the part of the citizens.
Meanwhile, the minister also informed that there has been no new variant detected in the cases registered in the state.