GUWAHATI, May 18 - Fifteen more COVID-19 cases were reported in Assam today taking the State tally of positive cases to 115, while a cancer patient with novel coronavirus infection died in Guwahati even as the government insisted that the key to control the pandemic lies in an effective quarantine strategy.
Seven cases were detected in Guwahati tonight, including a 54-year-old person who died at the isolation ward of GMCH two days ago.
The remaining included three persons undergoing quarantine at the Sarusajai centre and three, related to the potato godown case, are from the Fancy Bazaar containment zone.
Earlier today, four persons from Golaghat and one each from Nagaon and Titabor tested positive for COVID-19. They were in quarantine centres after returning from outside the State. Two persons from Cachar district also tested positive for the virus.
A cancer patient, Gopindra Chandra Malakar (71), who had returned from Mumbai, died today. He had neck cancer and was infected with COVID-19.
�He passed away at 11:05 am at GMCH owing to respiratory distress. Doctors did their best. His wife and son were shifted from Radisson Blu hotel to MMCH where their samples were taken for tests,� Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Pointing out that the 16,000 villages have been scanned under the community surveillance programme and not a single COVID-19 case has been detected so far, Sarma said almost all the cases in the State so far are returnees who were in quarantine.
�Therefore, the key to COVID-19 management lies in effective quarantine following lifting of the travel restrictions. This is irrespective of the number of cases. All efforts should be put in place an effective quarantine strategy and we are working on it,� Sarma said.
The State government will come up with a fresh quarantine guideline in a day or two, he said, adding that the State would follow �ruthless quarantine with a big heart� policy.
So far, 48,000 people have returned to the State.
�We have been saying that we want the people to come in a sequence and not just pour in at one time... else the quarantine centres will be like flood relief camps and we will not be able to provide the best of facilities,� he said.
The State government estimates that it will have to quarantine some one lakh returnees and against each of them Rs 30,000 will be spent during the fourteen-day isolation period.
The Centre has provided Rs 150 crore to the State government for COVID-19 management.
�We are also holding a loan negotiation with the World Bank for some Rs 3,000 crore to meet up the quarantine expenses. Preliminary talks have been held,� he added.