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Assam COVID-19 deaths rise to 3; total cases now 104

Press Trust of India  |  Guwahati 

A 71-year-old coronavirus-infected man died in Assam on Monday, raising the death toll to three, while four more tested positive, bringing the virus count to 104 in the state, Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The man, who was suffering from neck cancer, had tested positive last week after he returned from Mumbai by bus.

"He died at 11:05 am due to respiratory distress in Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) and his cause of death has been marked as due to both neck cancer and COVID-19," the minister said at a press conference here.

The wife and the son of the deceased have been shifted out from their quarantine facility in a hotel and admitted to Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital, Sarma said.

This is the third death in Assam due to COVID-19 with the first being a Tablighi Jamaat returnee from Hailakandi who died at Silchar Medical College and Hospital and a 16-year old girl who was found positive after she passed away in B Barooah Cancer Hospital in Guwahati.

Meanwhile, four people have tested positive on Monday with two from Golaghat and one each from Nagaon and Jorhat, the minister said.

Of the 104 positive cases in the state, there are 58 active cases, three deaths, two have migrated out and 41 have been cured and discharged from the hospital, Sarma said.

The state has so far tested nearly 40,000 samples in seven laboratories in the state.

"There is, however, no need to panic as most of the cases detected positive are from quarantine camps and so far community transmission has not taken place," he said.

The health department has conducted community surveillance in 16,000 villages so far and not a single case has been detected, he said.

"The COVID-19 tally will increase in the state but success of Assam's COVID management will depend on the strict quarantine system adopted and it will spread to the community, only if this fails," the minister said.

The state has adopted the policy of "ruthless quarantine with big heart", which implies that all coming from outside will have to undergo "strict quarantine and the government will take care of them", he said.

People are keen to return to their homes "and this is quite natural but we appeal to them to space out their travel so that we can provide them with the best quarantine facilities", he said.

The minister said that so far 48,000 people have returned to the state and more will come but "if they all come together, it will be difficult to provide them with quality quarantine facilities, which will pose a problem leading to possible community transmission of the disease".

The state government was likely to incur an expenditure of Rs 300 crore for quarantine of one lakh people and to provide financial assistance to four lakh people from Assam staying in other states under Assam Cares, he said.

The Assam government is negotiating with the World Bank in this regard and "it will help us considerably, if it works out", Sarma added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 18 2020. 19:52 IST