John L Sailo Ryntathiang , a 69-year-old doctor from Shillong, the first Covid-19 positive patient of Meghalaya, passed away early on Wednesday. He was the managing director of Bethany Hospitals, had tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.
This is the second Covid-19 fatality in the Northeast after the death of a 65-year-old patient at Assam’s Silchar Medical College and Hospital last week. There are a total of 40 Covid-19 positive patients in the region.
Though Ryntathiang didn’t have any recent travel history, he reportedly got infected from his son-in-law, a pilot with Air India who had returned from New York to Delhi on March 16 and reached Shillong on March 24.
“Preliminary investigations suggest that one of the relatives of the concerned person had a travel history to one of the infected countries and he was back in Shillong before the 14-day quarantine period was over,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on Tuesday.
“Though the person took all precautions, but sometimes we see asymptomatic cases as well, who don’t show any signs but could be a carrier. Therefore, there is a high chance that it could have been passed on from there. We are looking at all possibilities of how this could have happened,” he added.
Meghalaya had traced nearly 2,000 primary and secondary contacts of the patient and done tests on 90 of them (nearly half of the primary contacts).
The government had asked its Assam counterpart to support with testing of the 2,000 contacts. The Shillong-based Northeastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) is the lone Covid-19 testing lab in Meghalaya.
Meghalaya’s capital Shillong has been placed under curfew for 48 hours beginning 6:00 am on Tuesday.