GUWAHATI, June 13 - Expressing concern over detection of COVID-19 positive cases with no travel history, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the capital city might have to undergo another phase of lockdown, if the scenario worsens in the next seven days.
Informing that so far 25 such cases with no travel history have come to the fore in Guwahati, the minister said the health machinery would go on an overdrive as far as testing is concerned. �Around 50,000 samples would be collected and tested in Guwahati in the next 15 days,� he said.
�The situation in Guwahati is complicated and worrying. Supposing that 500 new positive cases are detected in the next few days when the rate of testing is intensified, Guwahatians might have to be prepared for another phase of lockdown, but not before the tests are done. The government will not shy away from taking tough decisions if the situation does not improve,� Sarma said.
The total number of testing in the State will shoot up to three lakh by June 30, he said.
The minister also said that the government, for the time being, in view of the existing scenario might even impose night curfew from 7 pm instead of 9 pm.
So far 172 persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in Guwahati, while the overall tally in the State has reached 3,718 cases, of which 25 were detected positive today. The total number of recovered patients stands at 1,584. While the death count as on today is eight, the total number of active cases is 2,123 as per the latest figure made available.
In Guwahati, at least four new positive cases were reportedly detected today. An undertrial prisoner of Guwahati Central Jail has also tested positive, following which samples were collected from 11 police personnel of Hatigaon police station that had arrested the accused. There are at present 44 containment zones in Guwahati.
The minister said the idea behind random collection of samples for testing is to break the chain of those with no travel history. �We are of the opinion that the leakage might have taken place in places where trucks are loaded and unloaded or at parking lots. Such places could be the epicentre of transmission. Our staff will resort to random collection of samples from 159 such zones which would be treated as quarantined zones,� he said.
Similarly, several district administrations have been directed to initiate measures targeting the areas where loading and unloading of trucks is done. As part of the drive, samples would also be collected from petrol depots and places in and around godowns.
He further informed that apart from the GMCH and the MMCH, 10 new hospitals have been identified where any individual can voluntarily get their samples tested from June 16.
The hospitals are Dhirenpara FRU, Pandu FRU, Ulubari Urban Hospital, Dispur Capital Dispensary, Khanapara State Dispensary, Bhetapara State Dispensary, Lokhra State Dispensary, Bamunimaidam State Dispensary, Santipur State Dispensary and Odalbakra Mini PHE.
At present, the State has 11 testing labs that are functioning and another testing lab would be opened at the GMCH very soon. �The waiting period for COVID-19 test reports will also be reduced to 3-4 days instead of 7-8 days,� the minister said.
Sarma said that the State could witness a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases with trains from Kerala and Bengaluru scheduled to arrive in the next few days. �We are expecting 25,000 persons to arrive from Kerala in 17 trains,� he said.
So far, a total of 1,73,493 persons have arrived in the State from other parts of the country and of these, 39,730 have arrived by air.
�In a new move, we have created a voluntary group of psychiatrists and psychologists, who would provide counselling for the COVID-19 patients through the �104� helpline number. The initiative has been named as �Monon�,� the minister said.