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Highest single-day spike of 87 COVID-19 cases in Assam, Himanta asks people not to return unless 'absolutely necessary'

PTI | Guwahati | Updated: 23-05-2020 23:58 IST | Created: 23-05-2020 23:58 IST
Highest single-day spike of 87 COVID-19 cases in Assam, Himanta asks people not to return unless 'absolutely necessary'

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday asked people not to return to the state unless "absolutely necessary" as 87 more people tested positive for coronavirus, the highest single-day jump, taking the total tally to 346. He also said that the situation in Assam has reached a challenging phase and the government will write to other states to ensure that buses and trucks carrying people without maintaining social distancing are not allowed movement.

Seventeen new cases, including two persons coming from Tripura, were reported in the night, in addition to 10 in the evening, 53 in the afternoon and seven in the morning. On Friday, 49 people had tested positive for coronavirus.

"17 more #COVID19+ confirmed. 4 from Chirang; 4 from Tinsukia; 1 from Goalpara; 8 test + at SMCH - Cachar (3), Hailakandi (3) & Tripura (2)", the Minister tweeted. Ten new cases were reported in the evening -- four from Morigaon, two from Nalbari and one each from Nagaon, Hojai, Golaghat and Jorhat.

Among the 53 cases in the afternoon, 44 were from Sarusajai quarantine centre, two from Cachar and for the first time Dima Hasao reported seven persons testing positive. In the morning, seven persons tested positive with six of them from Sarusajai quarantine facility and one from a quarantine centre in Dhubri. Meanwhile, three persons- two from Guwahati Medical College Hospital and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital-have recovered and discharged after they tested negative repeatedly. Out of the 346 positive cases, 282 are active, four persons died, three migrated out of the state and 57 have recovered and discharged from the hospital.

Assam has so far tested 60,408 samples and out of these 346 persons have tested positive, 54,185 found negative and the remaining results are awaited. The capacity of the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital has been filled and new patients will now be kept at the Kalapahar Hospital which has been declared a COVID+ hospital and will function as an annexee of the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) from today, the Minister told reporters here. GMCH has been kept for serious patients, he said.

"The situation in Assam has reached a challenging phase. Assam is not safe and people from other states should not return home, if it is not absolutely necessary," Sarma said. The state government will write to other states to ensure that buses and trucks carrying people without maintaining social distancing are not allowed movement, he said.

The minister claimed that the recent increase in the number of cases was mostly due to people not maintaining protocol while travelling by road in crowded vehicles. "There has not been a single positive case among students whose travel was arranged under the supervision of the state government as strict COVID+ protocols were followed," he said. The minister said that quarantine of people coming from outside the state will be strictly enforced as "ruthless quarantine with humane heart is our policy".

"We will not allow anyone to go for home quarantine before spending seven full days in institutional facilities," he asserted. Around 1,15,920 people have returned to the state from other parts of the country, while 17,895 people have left Assam, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) G P Singh said.

Eighteen Shramik special trains have reached Assam from Chennai, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Lingampally, Kanpur, Hyderabad and Mumbai, he added. On May 7, the number of positive cases in the state stood at 48. These mostly included people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi.

Nearly 50,000 people have already entered the state by road and rail since May 4 and about 10 lakh are waiting to come. A number of positive cases reported in the past few days are also from different quarantine centres..


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