Amid unabated surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, Assam with 59 per cent recovery rate exceeded the national recovery rate of 52.96 per cent, even as 167 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, officials said on Thursday night.
According to the health officials, one more person infected by Covid-19 died the Diphu Medical College and Hospital on Thursday, raising the death toll in the state to nine.
This is the second death from the Karbi Anglong district caused by the dreaded virus. In all, 167 people tested positive in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 4,861, with 2,001 active cases.
The state government had on Wednesday launched the Assam Targeted Surveillance Program (ATSP), aiming to conduct random tests of samples of 50,000 people in 11 days across the state.
Assam Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Samir Kumar Sinha said that random testing under the ATSP would be conducted in four categories of people. He said under the ATSP, random testing of people and workers involved in truck parking, loading and unloading of goods, including railway goods and godowns, would be conducted.
Similar random testing would be conducted on all frontline district officials, including healthworkers, police personnel, officials of the transport department and the district administration, those associated with Covid-19 management, hotel staff and family members of people released from the institutional quarantine centres.
While talking to the media, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that if a sizable number of positive cases are found after testing 50,000 samples, several stringent measures, including total lockdown, would be re-imposed in Guwahati and at other vulnerable places.
“The new strategies are being considered to check the coronavirus spread in Assam,” Sarma said, adding that a fresh lockdown to counter Covid-19 in the state may not be economically feasible at the moment.
“If lockdown is a solution, then it can be enforced. Lockdown is a last resort. When all possible options fail to contain the virus, only then probably we should be using the lockdown. Currently, we think we have been able to control the spread of the virus by other means. A lockdown would have an adverse impact on the livelihood of the people, especially the daily wage earners,” the minister said.
Assam has so far tested around 2.47 lakh samples in 12 laboratories and has set a target of testing three lakh samples before the month end.
With the return of around four lakh people from southern and western regions of the country, Covid-19 cases have increased very rapidly in the northeastern states, especially in Assam.