‘Army soldier in Leh tests positive for coronavirus’
New Delhi: The Indian Army reported its first case of the coronavirus after a 34-year-old soldier from the Ladakh Scout regiment tested positive for the infection in Leh, army sources said on Wednesday as the total number of cases in India climbed to 147 after several states reported fresh cases of COVID-19.
The soldier, a resident of Chuhot village in Leh, came in contact with his father, who had returned from a pilgrimage in Iran by an Air India flight on February 20 and tested positive for COVID-19, sources said.
Before being quarantined at the Ladakh Heart Foundation on February 29, the soldier’s father had met the family members.
The soldier was on leave from February 25 and rejoined duty on March 02, sources said, adding he was quarantined on March 07 and tested positive on March 16.
Even the soldier’s brother has tested positive, sources said.
Confirming two positive cases of COVID-19 in the Union Territory, Leh Commissioner Secretary (Health) Rigzin Samphel said a total of 34 sample results were received on Tuesday, of which two turned out to be positive, taking the total number to eight there.
“I talked to the officers of the Ladakh Scouts (of Army) this morning and the good news is that he (the infected soldier) was on leave and had no contact with any other person from his unit…there is no need to worry,” the Commissioner Secretary said, adding the government has offered its services to the Ladakh Scouts in case of any need.
The soldier has been isolated at the Sonam Nurboo Memorial (SNM) Hospital. His sister, wife and two children are also quarantined at SNM Heart Foundation.
Army sources also said “even though the soldier had rejoined duty, he was helping his family during his father’s quarantine period and stayed at Chuchot village for some time.”
Sources said all those who have come in contact with the soldier have been quarantined but did not give the exact numbers immediately.
According to health officials, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 147 with 10 fresh cases reported from various parts of the country.
The cases include 25 foreign nationals and the three persons who died in Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra, officials.
Samphel also told reporters that the Leh district administration is imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC banning assembly of five or more persons in the district.
“Prohibitory orders were imposed by district administration in Kargil yesterday (Tuesday) and the Leh administration is following suit and will be issuing similar orders later in the day. This will help in avoiding large public gatherings,” he said.
Urging people to avoid going to crowded places as a precautionary measure, he said “the government offices will remain open and function as usual. The officers will address the public grievances but people are advised not to come in groups. It will benefit all of us.”
In response to another question, he said the results of 70 samples are still pending and are expected to arrive in a day or two.