Guwahati: Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases without any travel history in Guwahati, Assam is considering to impose a ward-wise lockdown in the city for at least seven days, said state health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The minister further said that medical centres would be created in all the 31 wards of the city, which will act as area-wise COVID management facilities.
These centres will be used for COVID screening, sample collection, basic isolation, quarantine, quick containment zone impositions and contact tracing. All these centres will function from schools and will have ambulances, doctors, nurses and paramedics along with lab technicians.
They will also be equipped with lab machines which can carry out covid tests quickly, said Mr Sarma.
Assam’s capital Guwahati recorded at least 144 COVID-19 cases without any travel history or traced contact source, prompting the state government to consider ward-wise lockdown and ward-wise makeshift COVID hospital-cum-testing centres to flatten the curve.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, admitting that the COVID-19 situation in the city is “grim”, said that at least 150 people have tested COVID-19 positive in the city since June 15.
“Of these, only 37 had travel history,” Mr Sarma said.
Mr Sarma had earlier announced 12 spots for COVID-19 community testing in the city from June 15 in which 5,000 people voluntarily got themselves tested.
In the 31-ward city Guwahati, at least seven wards in and around the Jalukbari, Fancy Bazaar and Fatashil Ambari areas of the city have been considered to be the hotspots of COVID-19.
Fatashil Ambari has recorded the highest – 69 – cases among the voluntarily tested people.
“That’s why, we are considering a seven-day-long ward-wise lockdown instead of a city-wide lockdown in those hotspots among other measures so that the COVID curve can be flattened,” Mr Sarma said. The already active containment zones outside those hotspots will remain as they were.
The latest move takes the community testing facilities from existing 12 to 33 – one in every 31 wards and one each in Gauhati Medical College & Hospital and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital.
Mr Sarma said that the state is procuring 100 ICMR-approved testing machines which are capable of testing and giving results instantly.
“Not many people are now left stranded. So, the requirement of quarantine facilities will go down. Those facilities will be converted into COVID treatment centres for asymptomatic patients,” said Mr Sarma on need for more infrastructure amid fears of community spread of the disease.
“The large quarantine centres in stadiums would be turned into COVID care centre for treating mild and asymptomatic patients,” he added.