After declaring Tripura “COVID-free” last month, Chief Minister Biplab Deb’s government is facing a rise of coronavirus cases in the state. Nearly 24 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel tested positive for COVID-19 in Tripura on Thursday, taking the number of novel coronavirus cases in the state to 88.

All the fresh cases were reported in the 86th battalion headquarters of the BSF located at Ambassa in Dhalai district, he said.

“ALERT! 24 persons from 86th-Bn #BSF Ambassa found #COVID19 POSITIVE today. Total #COVID19 patients in Tripura now stands: 88 Active cases: 86 Discharged: 02 There is no POSITIVE case among civilians. Stay Safe,” Mr Deb tweeted on Thursday night.

Earlier, 62 personnel of the BSF’s 138th battalion headquarters, located near that of the 86th battalion, had tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 88 COVID-19 patients, two have recovered.

Additional Chief Secretary S K Rakesh earlier in the evening said 916 samples of BSF personnel and civilians from Dhalai district have been sent for tests.

“We are prepared even if the number of COVID-19 cases further rise in Tripura,” he said. Dhalai district has been declared a ”red zone” and three locations, including the headquarters of the 138th battalion of the BSF, a camp at Gandacherra village and the Kareena border outpost have been designated as containment zones, officials said.