Do Symptomatic patients skipping tests causing COVID-19 to rise in Mizoram?

As Mizoram's COVID-19 curve continues to rise, specialists in the state feel that symptomatic patients' failure to follow COVID-19 procedures (COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour) and skipping sample testing during festivals are to blame for the state's present growing COVID-19 instances.

Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, state nodal officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), said that, unlike the previous two years, when Aizawl was the worst-affected district, the novel coronavirus has now managed to infiltrate rural areas after Christmas and New Year, indicating that COVID-19 protocols or Covid-19 Appropriate Behaviour were widely ignored during the festivities.

"While Aizawl district used to provide approximately 70-80 percent of daily COVID-19 cases before, it now only contributes about 28 percent since a large portion of COVID-19 cases is reported from other districts, especially from rural regions, since the celebrations," he added.

Pachuau, who is also the official spokesperson for COVID-19, claimed that around Christmas and New Year, congregational and mass singing (zaikhawm) and community feasts were conducted mostly in remote communities, which is thought to be the major cause of community spread and growing instances.

He said that many city dwellers returned to their villages for Christmas and New Year, and that these people may be potential carriers.

To allow people to have a happy Christmas and New Year, the government left it up to local churches to decide whether or not to organise worship services, congregational singing, other communal feats during the holidays.

Only a few churches in towns hosted congregational singing and communal feasts over the holidays, although most churches in rural regions did. During a Wednesday consultative conference, health authorities noted that many symptomatic patients declined to have their samples analysed, which might be the cause of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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