GUWAHATI, May 23 - Seventy new cases took the COVID-19 tally in Assam to 329 as the biggest one-day spike reduced the doubling rate in the State to less than three days. The previous doubling rate was six days when the cases jumped from 80 to 160.
The rapid rise in the cases prompted Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to renew his appeal to those outside the State not to return unless it is necessary.
“Assam is no longer safe. Those who are planning to come to Assam seeking safety should abandon their plans. People must especially avoid returning in buses and trucks,” Sarma said.
Noting that many of the returnees got infected during their return journey, he also wondered how other states were allowing people to return in crowded buses and trucks.
“The Assam government is going to write to all such states and ask them not to allow transit of such vehicles which are carrying people in violation of social distancing norms. Originating states should not allow movement of such vehicles,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital here has exhausted its capacity to admit COVID-19 patients. Following the development, the State health department has converted the Kalapahar TB Hospital to a fully functional COVID-19 facility.
“The Kalapahar hospital has started functioning from this evening. It will work under GMCH from today. Twenty doctors, 30 nurses, 25 grade IV staff and nine cleaners have joined duties,” Sarma said.
The new patients detected today will be screened and the more serious patients admitted to the GMCH. The others will be treated at the Kalapahar TB Hospital.
As many as 50 cases were today reported from the city’s Sarusajai quarantine centre where returnees hailing from different districts have been put up.
Dima Hasao district – which did not have a single case so far – also entered the COVID-19 map, reporting seven positive cases during the day.
Four new cases are from Morigaon district, two each from Cachar and Nalbari and one each from Nagaon, Golaghat and Jorhat.
Eight people from Hojai who were in the Sarusajai quarantine centre also tested positive, besides one is from Dhubri who was also in quarantine.
Meanwhile, one patient was discharged from the MMCH today.