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HomeIndiaLeh cab driver, who tested ‘negative’ for COVID-19 twice, tests positive after...

Leh cab driver, who tested ‘negative’ for COVID-19 twice, tests positive after third test

Officials in Ladakh told ThePrint this happened because of a miscommunication between authorities in Leh and the testing facility in New Delhi.

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Srinagar: Panic gripped Chuchot Gongma, a village about 20 km from Leh, where a resident, who had tested negative for COVID-19 twice and was discharged from hospital, was readmitted Friday along with his family members, including a toddler, after his third test results came positive.

Officials in Ladakh told ThePrint the incident happened because of a miscommunication between authorities in Leh and the testing facility in New Delhi. The patient, the officials said, had only come in contact with his immediate family members as he was asked to stay in isolation after his discharge.

The patient, a cab driver by profession, was first admitted to Leh’s Sonam Norboo Memorial Hospital after his father-in-law tested positive following his return from a religious pilgrimage in Iran on 27 February.

Panic in village

Haji Ghulam Mohammad Chow, the village sarpanch, said the patient’s father-in-law had shown flu symptoms and was taken to a town hospital.

After he tested positive, health authorities collected samples of the patient and his family members, all of which came negative.

The cab driver was quarantined at Ladakh Heart Foundation, a Leh-based NGO, where the administration has set up isolation facilities.

However, authorities were not satisfied with the patient’s results and he was kept in quarantine for a few more days while his family was sent home. This included his mother-in-law, wife, sister-in-law and three-year-old son.

“His samples were sent again. However, four days ago, he was released. He called me and said that his tests had come back negative. The entire village heaved a sigh of relief but yesterday (Friday) after spending three whole days with his family, he was taken aback. Authorities told us that his third test has come positive,” Chow told ThePrint.

His family members were taken as well because authorities suspected that he might have infected them as well, Chow added.

There was panic in the village, which houses more than 3,000 people, after the news spread that the entire family is being taken to the hospital.

The village is already under “containment”, a form of community quarantine after nearly ten COVID-19 cases came to light.

“People had observed discipline during containment. No two people gather at a place even when they have to buy essential supplies. People walk alone and buy stuff alone. But after this news people were angered by it and confronted the administration,” Chow said.

Also read: FIR against Kanika Kapoor wrongly says she tested positive for COVID-19 at Lucknow airport

‘Negligence’ by Leh administration

Prominent social activist from the region Sajjad Kargili pointed out the negligence on the part of the administration of the newly created union territori and called for action against the lacklustre approach of the local administration.

“The situation here is extremely serious. First, the pilgrims were not screened at the airport on their return despite it being known how bad the situation in Iran is. To control damage, villages were then put under containment. But will the containment exercise work if the government is sending back patients without being sure if they have tested negative. Leh and Kargil need immediate attention,” Kargili said.

A total of 13 COVID-19 cases have been detected in Ladakh, according to the administration, and multiple villages across the region have been put under containment.

Rigzin Samphel, Commissioner Secretary (Health), told ThePrint there was no violation of protocol.

“We test the patient once after showing symptoms. In this case, the test came negative but doctors weren’t satisfied. So they sent his sample again. At this point there was some confusion at the testing centre and we were informed that they have not received the second sample so a third sample was sent.”

Meanwhile, the second sample was found at the testing centre and that too came negative. This was communicated to doctors in Leh, who discharged him. But when the third sample that had by then reached the centre was tested, the results came out positive, Samphel said.

“Fortunately the patient belongs to a place, which is sealed and contained. He had minimal interaction. He was also told to isolate himself and did not meet many people except his family,” Samphel added.

ThePrint tried to contact Ladakh BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, but he didn’t answer to calls and text messages.

Also read: Amid coronavirus scare, Yogi govt cancels Ram Navami festival in Ayodhya


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  1. Cap driver first test was negative, second which was also negative reached late so the adm. Sent a thir test. Once the report of second _I’ve test reached third was already sent to Delhi.
    So as per the the giluidline after the two consecutive tests you have to discharge.
    So when he was discharged third report came which was positive…
    So dear friends we have first two positive +ive patientz in our hospital admitted on 1irst March , their two consecutive test after the incubation period is negative, they are in strict observation in snm hospital.
    No third test after 21 days is positive.
    Now you tell me whom to blam administration, doctors or the Corona virus itself…

  2. Put Name and also aadhar number on test sample along with PIN code of place. As leh is far away area Union Govt make arrangement for testing at Leh. If two labs are at srinagar , why cannot one be at Leh. Follow covid 19 guidelines strictly and seriously.

  3. Let’s have tolerance toward the humanity, in this testing times, not to quarrel against each other.

  4. Some time happened things like that whether it’s man or machine need to keep isolate himself from the people

  5. You expect everything from country. You are living on this land, what you do for this country and land. It is not individual duty to society and nation to keep you safe with precautions. Do not go on name. Frist nation than you and me. Ok

    • R u gone mad , do you have brain it is not the matter of country its the fault of administration they said , u ill minded fellow

  6. Once exposed common wisdom says compulsory self quarantine is a must to stop the spread.
    Thermal scanners don’t diagnose patients who got infected a day or two before.

  7. Sajjad Kargili is not a social activists.leave alone prominent.He is a non tax paying apolegetic Indian living guiltriddenly on Indian tax payers social welfare,he is a leftist communist in delhi, iranian hezbollah revolutionary in Kargil, a congress media worker till 3 years ago untill kicked out, A separatist in Kashmir, and a proud Indian who hates Pakis when with the Local Indian Army Brigadiers and Generals of Kargil.
    He shot to fame when he manipulated a local sheik into announcing himself as an MP candidate which resulted in BJP winning the ladakh seat. Some say BJP payed him a good sum to divide Kargil Vote share.

    Right now he is anonymoisly arranging and manipulting interviews for unsuspecting news outlets like yours and huffinton post and sahar tv of Iran in order to make the people of Ladakh believe that their demand of UT will make them regret one day.
    Trying hard to stay relevant.

  8. It’s very easy to blame the administration and the medical department. Let’s cooperate them at this time of crisis!

  9. People understand the gravity in Ladakh. It’s time to retain our senses and fight the Covid menace, instead of working ourselves up. Reports can’t be messed up for sure. All staff whether Medicos, allied or cops and even public join hands to fight this virus. Pls abstain from using chunky blah blah , it pains our sensibilities in times such as these. Let’s unite to fight together.

  10. The test is going from leh to pune, n as per our names it’s different. Suppose the negative test is of jorges n positive is targes . ..will the lab guy in banglore will not get confused. Now positive is jorges and negative is targes..Obviously it’s a very different kind of names n it’s sounds similar just like you say Chinese,ladakhi n north eastern are same looking you can’t differenciate….chinki sala

    • There is no end to racism. A gora might call you bhaartiya sala. Please be civil atleast your your fellow Indians, and hopefully be human first. That being said, a lab expert has some sort of a degree and is literate enough to spell the name right. One can not mask the loopholes and incompetencies in administration with the excuse “your name is difficult”, I am sure they have customer IDs and many other ways in this modern age of computers to distinguish individuals. Whatever your political inclination is, containing the spread of this is primary. It is their job to get the names right, the tests right. If they are unable to do so, they should not be in this profession at all. Do a low risk job then.

    • There is this common +ve/-ve sign language in place u idiot.

      You’re not in your senses, better be quiet and keep urself locked up.

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