Himanta foresees worst COVID scenario in Guwahati 

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‘We have formally entered pandemic stage in Guwahati’

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, July 5: “We have formally entered the pandemic stage in Guwahati with these 2,741 cases. Earlier, most of the patients were people with travel history, so the pandemic was in the states from where the returnees had come but now, it is here,” state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said here on Sunday.

The COVID-19 situation in Guwahati, where 2,741 fresh cases were reported in the last 10 days, is alarming and may worsen if the restrictions imposed are not followed seriously by the people, Sarma said addressing a press conference here.

The state recorded its biggest single-day spike in COVID- 19 cases on Saturday, with 1,202 new infections, of which Guwahati accounted for 777 cases. The state has reported 11,001 cases so far.

Guwahati, which is under a 14-day lockdown since June 28, has reported 2,741 new cases since June 24 and “by and large all of them are from the community, Sarma said.

“The 14-day lockdown in Kamrup (Metropolitan) district was absolutely necessary otherwise the situation in Guwahati would have turned into a catastrophe,” he said.

The minister informed that the state will complete 5 lakh COVID-19 tests in next few days. “We will complete 5 lacs test in next few days,” Sarma said sharing a list of COVID19 tests conducted across India per million.

“Our faculties, scientists and lab technicians are working 24 hrs putting their life at risk. Hope someday people will recognise this selfless dedication of my team,” the health minister said.

As per the list of tests per million in major India states, Delhi is on the top with 32,863 tests, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 18,597 tests.

Tamil Nadu is in the third position with 16,663 tests while Assam is in the fourth spot with 13,471.

Bihar is in the 19th spot on the list with 2,197 COVID19 tests.

In a tweet on July 3, Sarma informed that the health teams in the state conducted more than 10,000 COVID19 tests, taking the state’s total count of tests to 438,882.

“Yet again today, our teams carried out 10,000 plus #COVID19 tests – the total count reached 438,882. Despite attempts by some to divert attention and run smear campaigns, our Team remain steadfast in their commitment & focus. Thank you,” Sarma tweeted.

The minister blamed a section of the media for leading a ‘misinformation campaign’ against the disease and trivialising it as ‘something akin to normal cough and fever and this has led to the rapid deterioration of the situation in the city.’ “This created a sense of complacency among the people and they moved around carelessly without taking necessary precautions after Unlock-1 was announced,” he said.

“This was a politically motivated move so that people stay away from tests and also to demotivate doctors and other health personnel who are working tirelessly to serve humanity,” Sarma said.

The minister asserted, “We will, however, remain committed, responsible and work with determination in our fight against the pandemic and will overcome it.”

He said allegations like COVID-19 patients not being attended to properly by doctors and nurses, not being given food on time or hospitals being unclean are “absolutely baseless”.

“I had visited the ICU ward of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, where serious patients are being treated. I had also met patients in the general ward. Nobody had any complaint and on the contrary, they were full of praises for treatment and facilities,” Sarma said.

There were also allegations from certain quarters that many people who tested positive for COVID-19 were shown as having tested negative for the infection and vice versa but there were only 49 such cases in the state, accounting for only 0.0001 per cent of the total tests conducted, the minister said.

“This was just a human error by data entry operators while making entries of the more than four lakh test results,” he added.

Sarma appealed to the people to be “very careful and responsible” during the lockdown relaxation this week.

“We will analyse the situation and take a decision on whether to extend the lockdown or strike a balance between the economy and health of the people,” he said. (With agencies input)

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