72-year-old man erroneously declared COVID-19 positive in Meghalaya

Shillong, Jun 18 (PTI) A 72-year-old man was erroneously declared as having tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya, which officials have attributed to a mechanical error.

The man, from Umsamlem village in Ri-Bhoi district, was declared a COVID-19 patient on June 9 after his samples tested positive for the infection in an RT-PCR test, an official said.

The patient had complained of respiratory problems and was admitted to a private hospital, he said.

'Following the outcome of the test, we started contract tracing but none of his contacts tested positive for COVID-19.

'This made us curious and RT-PCR and rapid antibody tests were subsequently conducted on him. This time, the results returned negative for the infection,' state Health Services Director Aman War told PTI.

More tests were conducted on the man and all the results have returned negative for COVID-19, he said.

Officials of the state health department and the response team met on Tuesday night and concluded he was a 'false COVID-19 positive' case, War said.

'The RT-PCR machines are 99 per cent accurate. The case of this man falls in remaining one per cent category where a machine can give inaccurate results,' War said.

The patient, however, is still admitted to the hospital for treatment of his other ailments. PTI JOP SBN ACD ABH ABH