Three new COVID-19 cases emerge in Assam, tally rises to 56

The health minister said that a bus carrying 45 passengers had arrived in Silchar on Wednesday from Rajasthan's Ajmer.

Three new COVID-19 cases emerge in Assam, tally rises to 56
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Guwahati: The total number of coronavirus cases in Assam rose to 56 with three persons testing positive for the disease on Friday and the test report of a 16-year-old girl confirmed the infection after her death, Health minister Himanta Biswas Sarma said.

The three persons had returned from Rajasthan. The girl was suffering from fever and a pain in her leg. When her condition deteriorated, she was admitted to B Barooah Cancer Hospital on Thursday where she died later, the minister said at a press conference.

Her sample, taken for COVID-19 testing, and was found to be positive. It is "very unfortunate as she did not get the necessary treatment", he said.
"We will have to discuss with the Union Health Ministry whether we can declare that she died due to COVID-19 as we did not treat her for the disease. She was found to be positive after her death," Sarma said.

The Kamrup (Metro) district administration has declared two hostels and areas around the Guwahati Medical College Hospital, the employers' colony near the B Barooah Cancer Institute where the girl lived with her grandmother and certain areas in Kharghuli and Chandmari as containment zones.

Sarma said of the total cases in the state, 21 are active while 34 have been cured of the disease and one died.

The health minister said that a bus carrying 45 passengers had arrived in Silchar on Wednesday from Rajasthan's Ajmer.

Three of them tested positive on Friday, taking the the total number of cases related to this particular group to eight. Thirty-three were negative and results of other tests are awaited, he said.

Since the passengers had gone home briefly after screening, several areas in four villages of Cachar district have been declared as containment zones, Sarma said, adding direct and indirect contact tracing was on and 185 people have been quarantined in facilities.

In the last 24 hours, Assam reported a sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Of the 11 cases reported since Thursday, nine have travel history.

After a post-graduate student of the medicine department of Guwahati Medical College Hospital tested positive for COVID-19, the facility has been closed for new patients and 386 people, including hospital superintendent, doctors, students and several workers, have been quarantined, the health minister said.

Their swab tests have been conducted and the results were expected by Friday night. The medical student was engaged in screening of COVID-19 patients from May 4, Sarma said.

A 55-year-old woman from Kharghuli Hills area of Guwahati has tested positive and admitted to GMCH. Her family members have also been quarantined.

The fourth person to test positive in Guwahati had returned from West Bengal on May 6 along with two others in a personal vehicle. The person has been admitted to Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital while the other two have tested negative, Sarma said.

"This is the second case with travel history to West Bengal and we have asked the police department not to issue passes to those originating their journey from this state, except in humanitarian cases," the minister said.

Sarma said that three positive cases in Guwahati with no travel or contact history indicates that traces of the novel coronavirus may be prevalent in the city.

"People should, however, not panic but strictly follow the guidelines and report to doctors in case they have influenza-like illness (ILI) and diarrhoea," he said.

So far, 1,032 people have entered the state since May 6 through check posts at Srirampur and Chagalia along the Assam-West Bengal border from where they proceeded to the five screening centres at Kokrajhar, Guwahati, Tezpur, Jorhat and Silchar.

The minister also said that harassing doctors, nurses and health workers is a non-bailable offence under the Epidemic Control Act and the Disaster Management Act.