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Second time unlucky: New wave of Covid-19 hits the Northeast hard

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The eight states of the Northeast, which successfully managed the first wave of Covid-19 last year, are now reeling under the second wave of the pandemic. This wave has resulted in a large number of casualties.

This region comprises eight states: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.

The new wave’s spread has almost overwhelmed Sikkim, the nation’s least populous state. On Friday, Sikkim reported the highest single-day spike of Covid-19 cases at 420. Of the 420 new cases on Friday, 235 were reported in East Sikkim, 136 in South Sikkim district, 47 in West Sikkim district and two in North Sikkim.

At least 85 monks in Rumtek monastery tested positive on Friday and overall 311 monks have tested positive this week. A senior government official told ET, “Our East Sikkim district has been the worst hit. The main reason is the spread in monasteries. The monks pray and live together in monasteries so the spread has been very quick here. Declaring some monasteries as containment zone has only restricted movement in and out of the monastery area. It has not stopped the spread within the monastery, which houses several hundreds.”

The most worrying factor has been the death rate in the state. At 1.66% death ratio, Sikkim has the fifth highest death ratio (even higher than national average of 1.14%) in India. “The death ratio is now coming down. It was 1.83% in mid-May,” said the official.

On Saturday Arunachal Pradesh registered a single-day spike of 497cases with this the number of cases in the state stood at 26,317. On May 25, in a highest single-day spike the state witnessed 480 cases. The death toll due to Covid-19 in the state stands at 111. The recovery rate in the state now is 84.94% and the positivity rate 6.05%.

In the last 24 hours, Manipur witnessed 732 new cases and the death toll reached 761.

Tripura registered 783 positive cases on Friday. The overall cases in the state stood at 6,324 while the death toll stood at 495 with a fatality rate of 1.01 %.

Mizoram’s COVID-19 tally rose to 11,659 on Saturday as 283 more people tested positive. The recovery rate in the state now is 74.14 %.

Assam, which accounted for the lowest death rate during the first wave, is witnessing a huge jump in the number of deaths. The state has managed to bring the positivity rate to under 5%, but fatalities have gone up several times.

From April 1 to May 28, 2063 people have died of COVID-19. In the first wave, the total death count in a year was 1105.

Despite restrictions in Meghalaya and Nagaland, the cases are surging.

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