Guwahati, May 18 (PTI) Two people died of COVID-19 in Asssam and 15 fresh cases were reported on Monday, taking the total number of deaths to four and coronavirus cases to 115 in the state, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
A person died on Monday night before he was tested positive and a 71-year-old man, who was suffering from neck cancer and tested positive last week after returning from Mumbai by bus last week, died due to respiratory distress during the day, the minister said.
Both the patients died in Guwahati Medical College Hospital.
Besides these two deaths, a Tablighi Jamaat returnee from Hailakandi had died at Silchar Medical College and Hospital and a 16-year old girl who was also detected to be positive after she died in B Barooah Cancer Hospital in Guwahati Meanwhile, seven positive cases were reported from Guwahati and one of them died, three from Sarusajai Quarantine Facility and three others who were contacts of a migrant worker who had tested positive last week, the Minister said.
The migrant labourer worked in a potato godown in Fancy Bazaar area, the commercial hub of the city, and subsequently 15 others in contact with him also tested positive last week.
A total of 19 people are now positive from the potato godown area and several areas of the commercial hub have been declared as a containment zone.
Eight other cases were reported in the state during the day with four from Golaghat, two from Cachar and one each from Nagaon and Jorhat.
Of the 115 positive cases in the state, there are 68 active cases, three deaths, two migrated out and 41 have been cured and discharged from the hospital, the minister said.
'There is, however, no need to panic as most of the cases detected positive are from quarantine camp 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-19 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 said. PTI DG KJ