Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Administration achieves remarkable success in containing COVID-19 in A&N Islands

  • Pioneered Pool Testing in the territory
  • Highest number of tests per million
  • Highest recovery rate

Port Blair, Apr 15
    The Andaman and Nicobar Islands has achieved tremendous success in prevention of COVID-19 in the territory on various fronts such as pioneering pool testing in the territory, conducting highest number of tests per million population and achieving highest recovery rate of COVID-19 patients.
    In this regards, it is pertinent to mention that the ICMR, HQ has allowed RMRC-ICMR Port Blair on 09.03.2020 to conduct the COVID-19 test for Andaman and Nicobar Island with a testing capacity of 20 tests at a time.The first test was conducted by the lab on 11.03.2020.However, during 2nd and 3rd week of March 2020 there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in A&N Islands and only the symptomatic cases of passengers who are coming from mainland/infected countries were sent to lab for testing. Hence, the load of testing was also quite low. Meanwhile, the Administration has increased its surveillance considering instances of spread of virus in many States in mainland and taken concrete steps to prevent the transmission of virus from outside and decided to keep all passengers under quarantine for 14 days who were coming from mainland and also test them if they were having any symptoms of cough, cold and fever. On these line, the Administration quarantined around 2020 passengers in 3 days i.e. from 22.03.2020 to 24.03.2020.During this surveillance 9 people from Tablique Jamait who were travelling from mainland by two flights i.e. Vistara and Indigo detected symptomatic on 24.03.2020 and on testing found infected by the virus. The Administration also identified 208 contacts of these persons and put them under Institutional Quarantine. This has enormously increased the number of persons under surveillance and most of them have been recommended for testing by the medical officials which inter-alia includes the crew and ground staff of airlines, screening team of Police and Medical officials at airport, staff of ambulance who transported the suspected/confirmed cases to hospital and contact of all confirmed cases.
    As mentioned above the sudden increase in number of suspected cases has put a tremendous pressure on RMRC-ICMR, Dollygunj, Port Blair for testing which was working with the capacity of testing only 20 samples at a time. On this back drop and considering the urgent need to test the suspect cases quickly, it was felt necessary to inform RMRC-ICMR, Port Blair to take measures to increase the capacity of laboratory to conduct more tests for meeting the increasing demands for testing. Some references were also shared with RMRC-ICMR, Port Blair relating to pool testing which were conducted in the countries like Korea and Germany.
    The RMRC-ICMR, Port Blair accordingly conducted an intensive research and study to explore the possibility of pool testing and their hard work yielded desired results when they successfully conducted pool testing on 06.04.2020 by taking 5 samples in a pool. By this method, the Lab now increased its capacity of testing 5 times. This has removed the bottle neck of 20 or 40 tests per day as the pool testing allows conduct of 100 tests at a time. Moreover, some extend it has also solved the problem of shortage of test kits. This innovative idea of Dr. P Vijayachari, Director RMRC-ICMR Port Blair attracted the attention of other States/UTs who were also demanded pool testing from local labs of ICMR to meet up the increasing demand of tests. Indian Council of Medical Research, Headquarter then on 13.04.2020 directed other regional ICMR institutions of the country to conduct pool testing.
    The RMRC-ICMR, Port Blair is continuing the pool testing and as on today it has conducted test of 1000 samples which is highest in the country which comes around 2500 test against 1 million population criteria.
     The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration admitted 11 confirmed cases out of which 10 cases have been recovered. The recovery rate of the Island is 90.91% which is also highest in the country. Moreover there is no case tested positive in the UT after 07th April 2020.
     This has achieved with the constant help and cooperation of law abiding citizens of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. To make our fight with COVID-19 successful the Administration has appealed to the people of the Islands to ‘STAY IN HOME’ and follow respiratory etiquette and social distancing norms to make the lockdown a success which ultimately prevent the spread of COVID-19, a press release says.

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