In the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, the Assam government will focus on conducting tests in two specific districts along the neighbouring state, to identify coronavirus-affected persons.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday that the government will give special emphasis on Dhubri and Kokrajhar districts along West Bengal border. The steps taken to check the spread of infection in these areas include random testing of 150 people in Dhubri along with special surveillance activities in the two districts.
After a 62-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, the total number of cases in Dhubri district (western Assam) has risen to five, Sarma told the media. Following the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), five swab samples would be taken at once through rapid testing in Dhubri.
Dhubri is one of the five Coronavirus hotspot districts in Assam with clusters or orange zones. The other four districts include Golaghat, Marigaon, Nalbari, and Goalpara. Himanta Sarma said that as per the ICMR guidelines, health officials from Thursday have initiated rapid testing for COVID-19 in select places in Guwahati.
A total of 6,459 samples, including those from Meghalaya and Mizoram, have been tested at six laboratories in Assam. In addition, rapid antibody tests have also begun in three locations in southern and northern Tripura, where so far two persons have tested positive for the virus.
Assam government offices reopened on Tuesday with 33 percent employees on duty to operationalize government functioning amid the continuation of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown till May 3 next.
The employees reported for duty adhering to lockdown protocols and social distancing norms. They were also seated at a distance of six-feet from each other, officials said. The protocol of sanitization and maintenance of social distancing at the offices as prescribed in the National Directives for COVID-19 Management of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order dated April 15 was being followed scrupulously, they said.
In Guwahati, the employees were transported to and from their offices in buses provided by the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC). In other parts of the state, the employees came to their work in their own vehicles, the employees claimed. Central government offices and PSUs were also functioning.