COVID SURGE: Will ramp-up tests but no lockdown or night curfew as of now, says Assam Health Minister
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday ruled out the possibility of any lockdown or night curfew in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state of late, saying that the only strategy will be to ramp up tests in the coming days.
The state 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.
Addressing reporters at the state BJP headquarters here, Sarma said that the health department conducted 18,000 tests on Wednesday and 32,000 tests on Thursday.
"Given the increasing rate of testing, the number of cases, and not the positivity rate, is bound to go up. But there is no reason for people to panic but be wary of the virus. Soon, we will ramp up testing to 1 lakh tests per day. Our only strategy to contain the virus spread will be to test, trace and track. There is no question of imposing lockdown or night curfew," the health minister said.
He further pointed out that there was a qualitative difference between the COVID situation last year and this year.
"Last year, the 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 preparations to tackle any eventuality has been enhanced with the availability of oxygen and other emergency requirements in place," Sarma said.
The minister fervently appealed to the people to report to the nearest health centre if they notice any COVID-19 like symptoms, which would help spread the infections.
"I also appeal to all those above 45 years to get themselves vaccinated," he added.
Regarding the ensuing Bihu celebration, he said the standard operating procedures for celebrating Bohag Bihu would soon be issued.
"As it is, the ramping up of tests in the coming week will ensure that we can celebrate Bihu without any fear of infection," Sarma said.