Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday that the health department has recommended a ward-wise lockdown in Guwahati, in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the city.

Sarma expressed the possibility that the spread of the virus in the city was in the community transmission stage. He said that 144 people without travel and direct contact history have tested positive in Guwahati since June 15. Of them, 114 people got themselves tested voluntarily.

Since June 15, the state government has made 12 testing centres operational in Guwahati, where anyone can get tested. Around 5,000 people have been tested at these centres, of which the results for around 3,000 are available so far, Sarma said.

“We got 100 positive cases in Guwahati only yesterday,” Sarma added. “Cases have been discovered across the city. We have recommended that there be total lockdown in wards where cases have surged sharply. The district administration will determine when it will happen.” The health minister said the measures will be taken in addition to the established policy of creating containment zones in areas from which a large number of cases have been reported.

Sarma said 31 screening zones, one for each ward, will be operational in the city from June 24, where people can get themselves tested voluntarily. “We will take steps to ensure that other districts do not reach the state of community infection like Guwahati,” he added.

Sarma told the media at the press conference that the total number of cases in Assam is 5,586, of which 2,170 patients have been hospitalised and 3,521 patients have recovered. He added that the state’s recovery rate is 63.3% while the mortality rate is 0.16%, with 10 deaths. As many as 331 people had tested positive in Assam on Sunday, the highest single-day increase.

Assam, despite its rising number of cases, continues to be one of the less-affected states in India, with Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu leading the pack. As of Monday, India had recorded 4,25,282 cases of Covid-19 with 14,821 new cases in 24 hours. The toll climbed to 13,699 with 445 new fatalities.

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