The spread of the novel coronavirus in Guwahati has emerged as a concern for health authorities in Assam. The city, whic has seen a spike in Covid-9 cases, currently has 30 active containment zones.
According to health department data, Assam has reported more than 3,400 Covid-19 cases, including 145 on Thursday and 235 on Wednesday, and six deaths. The state has 1,989 active cases as on Friday morning.
In the Kamrup (Metro) district, under which Guwahati falls, there were a total of 59 active cases till Thursday afternoon, sources said. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said at least 13 persons without travel history have tested positive in the city. “The spread in Guwahati is a matter of concern,” he told the media.
In Guwahati, a total of 50 areas have been marked as containment zones since April 4, of which 20 were withdrawn by June 9. The remaining 30 zones currently active were notified only in the past fortnight, including 17 since June 7.
The vast majority of those infected in the state are migrants who arrived after the relaxation of travel restrictions. Their samples were taken before they were put into quarantine centres. Moreover, all returnees are being tested and everyone is undergoing a rigorous and compulsory 14-day quarantine, combining institutional and home.
However, sources say that most of the cases detected in Guwahati have been elusive. Patients with no clear history of how they were infected are increasing in the city, putting authorities in a tough spot. “We are looking at all the cases in detail,” Lakshmanan S, Assam’s Mission Director of the National Health Mission (NHM), told The Indian Express.
The Kamrup (Metro) district administration has intensified health surveillance in the wake of increasing cases. “People who do not have a travel history have tested positive. We have to be a little worried — but that does not mean we will just worry and sit. We are taking all necessary steps like intensive community-level disease surveillance in the city. We are rigorously contact-tracing and testing,” Biswajit Pegu, Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro), told The Indian Express.
Since Monday, with the relaxation of the lockdown, Guwahati has largely opened up and all important roads were congested with traffic during the day. Officials say that the opening up could have an effect on the number of cases in the city. Lakshmanan warned that unless people follow the norms of social distancing and hygiene in Guwahati now, the city could see a further spike in cases.
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