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Community spread of Covid has begun in Assam, total lockdown may get extended

Assam government on Sunday said that community spread of Covid-19 has begun in Guwahati and rest of Kamrup Metro district. The government added that the ongoing total lockdown to control the pandemic might get extended.

The development comes a day after 777 Covid-19 positive cases, the single biggest spike in a day, were reported from Kamrup Metro taking the district’s tally for 10 days between June 24 and July 4 to 2,741 cases. The state has reported 11,001 cases so far.

“In the last 10 days we have recorded 2741 positive cases in Guwahati and rest of Kamrup Metro. Almost all of these cases are from community transmission,” state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.

“We have formally entered pandemic since June 24 and can no longer blame Karnataka, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu or Delhi (from where returnees came back during May and June) for COVID-19 spread in our state,” he said.

Assam government had imposed a 14-day total lockdown in Kamrup Metro from June 28 allowing only pharmacies to operate. However, with the number of cases not coming down, Sarma has indicated that the lockdown might get extended after the 14-day period on July 12.

“Extension of lockdown in Kamrup Metro depends on the number of cases. We might have to extend it by another week. There will be a need to find balance between allowing economic activity and risking lives of people,” he said.

“We had to announce total lockdown from June 28 due to special circumstances and the present situation in Kamrup Metro shows the government move was timely and needed,” Sarma said.

While Covid-19 patients were kept in government hospitals till now, the surge has forced the government to consider keeping some in private hospitals. Sarma indicated that the government might take over a few private hospitals in Guwahati for management of Covid patients.

The minister also informed that a plasma bank has become operational in Guwahati Medical College Hospital and a doctor who recovered from Covid-19 was the first donor. The health department has also started administering Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, to Covid-19 patients with serious complications.

“Till Sunday, we have conducted 455,223 tests across the state and with 13,471 tests per million, Assam is placed fourth after Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu among all states in the country. As part of our community surveillance, we have conducted nearly 82,000 tests till now,” said Sarma.

On Sunday, Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna announced a fresh set of guidelines for Kamrup Metro for the period between July 5 and July 12 allowing opening of grocery shops and sale of fruits and vegetables.

All standalone grocery shops in the district will be allowed to open between 11 am and 4 pm from July 6 to July 10 and house to house sale of fruits and vegetables allowed from 8 am to 2 pm on July 6 and July 8.

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