The Assam government has announced the total lockdown from 28th June in Guwahati and the whole of Kamrup Metro amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases. In the last 24 hour, 502 cases have been recorded in Guwahati. As such state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (HBS) held a press conference to abreast the people regarding the rise of cases and the way forward.
"The lockdown plan has been initiated and I have roamed the city extensively to check the progress. People have cooperated successfully in the lockdown. However, Guwahati is in extremely critical condition", said the Health Minister.
The city recorded 1212 positive cases from 24th to 30th June alone. In recent times, moderate level symptomatic cases are coming about which has created the need for treatments. Two facets to control the current situation will be testing and better treatment facilities. In terms of testing, HBS said, "the govt plans to test 10,000 cases per day and claims that the critical phase has started just now". Based on a discussion with Amit Shah, the DG ICMR has followed up with Principal Secy Health and have suggested a new testing model and kit called Q-COVID19-AG. This will be able to give the results within 1 hour and if the person tested negative still suffers from symptoms then the conventional RT/PCR will be done.
The reason behind the move has been reports of delayed testing with people complaining that the test results have not been given even after 3 days. The people after the test did not isolate themselves which led to them spreading the disease. "A new website will be created where the test results will be shown on the provisions of the SRF number", said HBS.
The Health Minister shared another achievement that the coronavirus strain has been separated like NIV PUNE by RMRC (ICMR), Dibrugarh. In this regard, further Assam specific studies to be conducted. RMRC Lahaul is the only 3rd lab in states to isolate the virus in tissue culture. The findings reveal that the strains circulating in Assam are L type and the difference from one strain is .83, which is very minimal. Thus, the strain variation shouldn't be a problem for the vaccine. RMRC Lahaul has come to this conclusion. To extend this matter into the lower death rate in Assam as compared to other states, Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "if there's no death, it should be congratulated to the doctors and medical fraternity".
Also read: Assam: 140 new Covid19 cases, Guwahati records 502 positives in last 24 hours
In Guwahati, the total bed capacity is 1538 (including Khanapara) and the current bed occupancy is 987. Due to rising cases in Guwahati, there are concerns regarding the availability of beds. The Government has decided has started an 800-bed facility in Khanapara and will also start bed facilities in Patanjali Yogpith and in Maniram Dewan Trade Centre.
On the issue of mildly symptomatic undergoing home quarantine, HBS said, "In Guwahati, most cases are from areas like Pandu that share common toilets. 99% per cent chance to spread in those situations. If the condition deteriorates we don't have so many stuff to take care of them individually as home isolation may lead to rising deaths. Therefore we have given one relaxation, home-cooked food can be given to the patients".
The govt has also initiated backup plans if things go out of control. "We are working towards 3000 beds and the creation of a plasma bank. Already a plasma separator has been installed in GMCH and the training is going on for plasma therapy", said HBS.
Thus, it is too early to understand Guwahati's situation and one can totally have a clear picture post the lockdown if the cases subside. However, the current situation as said by the Health Minister is indeed critical and the need to follow the measures is more than ever.
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