No zonal grouping of districts recording less than 200 COVID cases: Minister

GUWAHATI: As part of a latest standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Assam government, no district can be categorised as red, orange or green zone if the particular district has less than 200 active COVID cases.

Addressing reporters here on Thursday, Assam health minister said that the state government would instead stick to the policy of containment zone where a particular COVID positive case is detected.

“The respective deputy commissioner will visit the area where the case is detected and disallow any activity by converting the area into a containment zone. The surrounding area would be declared as a buffer zone where some activity will be permitted,” Sarma said.

“Henceforth, we will be following the containment and buffer zone policy of checking the spread of COVID-19 in the state as against any zonal categorization of a district. The objective is to allow normal economic activities to continue in areas which have not been impacted. At the same time, we do not want people in areas other than containment or buffer zones to encounter problems or become panicky,” the minister said.

He further said that in the state’s case, “red would refer to the containment zone while orange would mean buffer zone”. “This way, the administration too can zero in on a particular area to take precise measures to contain the spread of the virus,” Sarma added.

Community surveillance

The minister also said under the community surveillance programme, the health teams have visited 21,499 villages and after 4000 sample tests found no COVID positive cases.

“However, 20,832 persons have been detected with only fever symptoms while only 107 have been put on quarantine as a precautionary measure,” he said.

“This is indeed an encouraging trend as just about one fever case has been detected in each village. The use of masks and adherence to social distancing has resulted in detection of fewer symptoms,” Sarma said.

The minister further said that if returnees do not go directly to villages/home districts then community transmission in the rural areas can be prevented. “Else, the situation will spiral out of control

Doubling rate

Till date, eight districts of the 33 Assam have not witnessed any COVID case even as the total number of cases has touched 191 till Thursday afternoon.

“In regard to the doubling rate, it took 27 days for the state to record 40 COVID cases from 20 cases, 13 days to record 80 cases from 40 cases and six days to reach the tally of 157 from 79 cases. So, cases have doubled at a rapid rate and there will be more cases as more people from outside the state return to Assam in the coming days,” he added.

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