GUWAHATI: The corona curve in Assam keeps steepening every day. Seven more people tested corona positive on Thursday. In the past 24 hours, 22 corona positive cases were reported in the State, 15 alone on Wednesday. The total number of corona positive cases in the State stands at 86 now.
All the seven corona positive cases that came to light on Thursday are cancer patients and their attendants who were brought to Assam in six sleeper buses recently. "Since these seven people were quarantined in Assam soon after their arrival, they leave no contact list here. The risk of COVID-19 being spreading from them is remote. The problem, however, is with the 15 people of Fancy Bazar who tested corona positive on Wednesday. For these 15 people, the source of coronavirus infection is Mangru Sahani. The crux of problem is that as to how the department will prepare the contact lists of all these 15 people of Fancy Bazar," said Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
One of the 15 corona positive persons of Fancy Bazar, Bindeshwari Thakur, is a barber who kept his hair-dressing activities going on till being detected corona positive. This has complicated the situation. By now all those who had their hair cut by Thakur might have mingled a lot of people by now, the Minister added.
Meanwhile, 340 people in the contact lists of the 15 corona positive Fancy Bazar people have been quarantined; and their swabs collected for testing. This apart, five Fancy Bazar areas have been declared as containment zones.
Health Minister Sarma further said that if a sizeable number of 340 people (whose swabs have been already collected) test positive, the situation in Guwahati will turn grim; and the government will be forced to conduct preliminary tests of all those staying in the containment zones in the greater Fancy Bazar area. He also stated that the barber at Fancy Bazar cut hair of 70 to 80 persons.
"But I appeal to the people not to panic; instead they should become alert and come forward seeking medical assistance in case they recently visited the Fancy Bazar area. If necessary, we will have to trace all persons who visited Fancy Bazar on the basis of data generated by the mobile towers," Sarma said.
The seven Mumbai-returnees testing corona positive are cancer patients Manoranjan Saha, Pradip Kumar Bania, and Gopindra Chandra Malakar; a 13-year-old heart patient; and three attendants of patients P Basudeb Patowary, Nilkantha Deb and Mina Rani Bania. All seven have been quarantined. Sarma also said that all these patients have been shifted to Gauhati Medical College & Hospital. "Cancer patients testing positive for COVID-19 was quite expected since they returned from Mumbai," he pointed out.
Minister Sarma also said that post-May 4 when the Central government lifted travel restrictions by roads, the State has seen the arrival of 12,000 people from various parts of India including the neighboring States. He added that the train from New Delhi, which reached on Wednesday, carried 501 passengers. "Thursday night will be the most challenging phase as the trains from Chennai and Delhi will bring altogether 834 passengers. Our officers and health workers are ready to deal with the situation arising out of such a huge load of incoming passengers," he added.