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Assam’s Guwahati has entered ‘real pandemic stage’ with community transmission: Health Minister

The Assam government enforced a “complete lockdown” in the Kamrup (Metro) district for 14 days since June 28 midnight to check the spread of the disease.

IANS | Guwahati |

With a massive rise of COVID-19 cases, Assam’s main city of Guwahati has entered a “real pandemic phase” with community transmission being witnessed, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.

“In just eleven days, the coronavirus positive cases in the Kamrup (Metro) district jumped to 2,741 from a mere 63. State’s main commercial city Guwahati, which falls in the district, formally entered into the real pandemic stage,” Sarma told the media.

The Assam government enforced a “complete lockdown” in the Kamrup (Metro) district for 14 days since June 28 midnight to check the spread of the disease.

According to the minister, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Assam climbed to 11,001 with active cases at 4,241, 6,743 people having recovered, three cases having migrated to other states and 14 people, including a 16-year-old girl having died.

Sarma said that of 100 samples tested in Guwahati, 30 were found to be positive.

“On Saturday alone, Guwahati reported a total of 777 Covid-19 cases, the biggest single-day spike in the city so far.”

Saying that it was time for all to be extra vigilant as the community transmission of the virus was witnessed, the minister has indicated that the 14-day lockdown in the Kamrup (Metro) district is likely to be extended for one more week and the situation would be reviewed on Wednesday.

He said that so far over 4.55 lakh samples were tested in Assam and the state is in among the leading positions in testing ratio in the country, as shown by NITI Aayog statistics.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said in a tweet on Saturday said that among the major states in the country, Delhi topped in per million tests with 32,863, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 18,597 tests, Tamil Nadu with 16,663 and Assam with 13,471.

Claiming that Assam’s recovery rate is 61.29 per cent, the Health Minister said that the state’s doubling rate is 13 days.

“Plasma bank has started in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). A doctor, who was recently recovered from the dreaded disease, first donated the plasma. The experimental COVID-19 drug Remdesivir has been administered on four patients and they are well,” he added.

Announcing some relaxations in the lockdown in the Kamrup (Metro) district, Sarma said that standalone grocery shop would remain open for certain times but strict health and hygiene care must be maintained.

Criticising the politically motivated campaign and spread of misinformation by a section of media and social media against COVID-19 treatment, he said that these unscientific campaigns would affect the morale of the frontline workers and create panic among the people.

Sarma, who on Saturday donned a PPE kit and visited the ICU ward at the GMCH to inquire about the health of critical COVID patients, requested media persons to visit the hospital and medical colleges to see the treatment themselves before giving “any misleading information”.