Himanta rules out lockdown, curfew amid COVID surge in Assam
“Health dept to conduct 1 lakh tests per day ahead of Bohag Bihu”
GUWAHATI, April 8: Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has ruled out the possibility of any lockdown or night curfew in the wake of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the state but appealed to the people to be cautious.
“As of now, our only strategy will be to ramp up tests in the coming days. We will follow the strategy of three “Ts” – test, track and trace – in our bid to contain the virus spread. But as of now, there is no possibility of lockdown or night curfew. People should have no reason to panic but be more careful,” Sarma told reporters here on Thursday.
Assam witnessed as many as 195 COVID-19 positive cases on Wednesday with Kamrup Metropolitan district reporting 104 cases, Dibrugarh district 19 cases and Kamrup Rural district reporting 16 cases.
“The health department conducted 18,000 tests on Wednesday. Today, we have set a target of 32,000 tests. Soon we will ramp up testing to 1 lakh tests per day. The number of cases, and not the positivity rate, will go up with increased tests though,” he said.
He further pointed out that there was a qualitative difference between the COVID situation last year and the one this year.
“Last year, our doctors were not vaccinated. But this year, they have been vaccinated and hence can enter the wards by wearing a simple face mask. Besides, the standard of measures to tackle any eventuality has been enhanced. Now oxygen is available and other emergency requirements are in place,” Sarma said.
The minister appealed to the people to report to the nearest health centre if COVID-like symptoms were noticed. “I also appeal to people above 45 years to get vaccinated,” he added.
Allaying doubts regarding the ensuing Bihu celebrations, Sarma said that the standard operating procedures for celebrating Bohag Bihu would soon be issued.
“We are ramping up tests in the coming week so as to keep the situation during the Bihu celebration (mid-April) in control,” he added.