Guwahati, May 22: With Assam witnessing a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases ever since inter-state travel was allowed, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that the state government will implement a “ruthless quarantine strategy with a humane heart”.
The total number of positive cases in Assam went up to 212 on Friday morning with two more persons found to be infected with coronavirus. Of these, 151 cases are active, while 54 people have recovered. Four persons have died due to coronavirus in the state and three have migrated.
Sarma on Thursday had said that with air travel set to resume, there will be more challenges before the government as “we will have to deal with people coming in by three modes – roads, rail and air – but we will ensure strict quarantine of all”.
On May 7, the number of positive cases in the state stood at 48. These mostly included people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi.
More than 40,000 people already entered the state by road and rail since May 4 and another 12 lakh are waiting to come.
A number of positive cases reported in the past few days are from different quarantine centres.
“We have positive patients mostly coming from outside the state and cases will increase for which we have to implement our quarantine policy effectively or else it will spread to the community,” Sarma had said.
Sarma said to ensure that the quarantine policy is strictly implemented, “we have adopted the approach of ruthless quarantine with a humane heart”.
“All coming from other states will have to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine and then after the test results, if found negative, will be allowed home quarantine,” he said.
“We are not restricting people from coming back to their state, but an appeal to them to come in batches over a period of time, so that we can ensure proper quarantine facilities and prevent the spread of the disease to the community,” the minister added.
The state government has done away with the paid quarantine system and will “bear the entire cost which will be a huge financial burden, but we are going ahead with it to ensure that it does not spread to the community level,” Sarma said.
Besides the stay, the state government will spend Rs 500 daily on the food of the quarantined persons and those sent for home quarantine will also be given Rs 2,000.
“The government will bear the entire cost but if anybody jumps quarantine, criminal cases will be filed against them and strict directives have been issued to the superintendents of police to take immediate cognizance,” he said.
The community surveillance conducted in 21,499 villages of the state found only 20,000 people suffering from fever which is “indeed a very positive health indicator and out of these 4,000 samples were tested, but no COVID-19 case was found and this is a very hopeful sign”. (PTI)