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Home States Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma says Guwahati to be locked down ward-wise

Himanta Biswa Sarma says Guwahati to be locked down ward-wise

Written by Abhishek Saha
| Guwahati |

Updated: June 23, 2020 5:17:32 am

Women wait for bus after getting a pass from district administration to go to their home in a Assam State Transport Corporation vehicle (ASTC) during the nationwide lock down in the wake of coronavirus pandemic in Guwahati. (Express photo: Dasarath Deka)

Nearly 150 Guwahati residents without any travel history recently tested positive for Covid-19, sparking fears of community-level transmission and leading authorities to consider locking down the city part-wise as well as turning quarantine camps into makeshift Covid-care hospitals.

State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Monday Guwahati’s situation has worsened in the past few days, with 114 people without any travel history — who voluntarily came to get tested since June 16 — reporting positive. In addition, nearly 40 people without any travel history, among those tested from 141 active containment zones in the city, have tested positive, he said.

Sarma said: “I fear cases in Guwahati will increase. This curve won’t be flattened immediately. We will have to rigorously test more and more people, along with measures such as implementing lockdowns and containment zones. So our quarantine centres in the city will be turned into Covid-care centres to treat asymptomatic patients. Symptomatic patients will be treated in hospitals.”

He said that keeping the spike in Guwahati in mind, the state Health Department has recommended Kamrup (Metro) district administration, under which Guwahati falls, should begin total lockdown of wards where the number of cases increase. He said this would be like treating a large area as a containment zone.

“Our focus more or less will be Guwahati now, so that the situation in our city does not turn into what it is in Delhi, Chennai or Mumbai. People have to strictly follow distancing norms and wear masks,” the minister said.

He also said sample collecting centres, where residents can voluntarily get tested, will be increased from the existing 12 to 31.

“It will be like a makeshift hospital for rapid Covid response in that area…,” the minister said.
Overall, Assam has reported more than 5,500 confirmed cases so far. On Sunday, the state registered its single-day highest spike yet — 331 cases.

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