GUWAHATI, Nov 30 - Around 60 lakh people will be administered COVID-19 vaccine in the first phase in Assam, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.
�The Prime Minister had a video conference with all the Chief Ministers recently and as per the discussion, four categories of people � health workers, security personnel on field duty, people above 50 years of age and those with co-morbidities � will get priority,� Sarma said.
The Assam government has been asked to prepare a list of such eligible people. Nationwide, around 26 crore people, which is around one-fifth of the population, will be administered the doses in the first phase. Going by that estimate, around 60 lakh will be given the vaccine in Assam, he said.
Currently, there are five vaccines at various stages of human trials in India, of which two are in advanced phase 3 trials. The widely watched Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being tested by the Serum Institute of India is leading the race, the Health Minister said, adding that, the launch, however, was unlikely before March-April next year.
Sarma said the COVID-19 situation in Assam was �under control� as of now, and all the temporary COVID care centres have been closed down. The last one � the Khanapara COVID Care Centre � was closed on November 28. There were 14 such centres in and around Guwahati.
�However, we cannot say what will happen tomorrow, so we have a contingency plan in our mind. We are extremely alert and closely monitoring the situation,� he said.
The average number of cases each day has been dropping in the current month, and now, on an average around 158 people are testing positive each day. In the first week of November, it was 325. Of these 150 cases detected daily now, 20-22 are passengers travelling from outside, which has prompted the health authorities to step up screening at airports and railway stations.
�The cases we are getting now are asymptomatic and so we are having problems in testing. People are not coming voluntarily as there are no symptoms. You can test a person repeatedly� it is natural that they will resist,� the Health Minister said.
Altogether, 134 cases were detected on Sunday out of 11,558 tests done, at the positivity rate of 1.16 per cent. The total caseload stood at 2,12,617. The number of active cases is 3,350 and death toll has reached 981.