Bongaigaon in lower Assam entered the state’s list of Covid-19 affected districts on Tuesday after a 16-year-girl, a secondary contact of a Nizamuddin returnee, tested positive. Another secondary contact from neighbouring Goalpara district also tested positive, taking the state’s Covid count to 37. Both had tested negative earlier.
Altogether 13 districts of the state have reported Covid cases so far, including hotspots Golaghat (9), Morigaon (6), Dhubri (5), Nalbari (4), Goalpara (5) and non-hotspots Cachar, Hailakandi, Karimganj in south Assam’s Barak Valley, Kamrup, Kamrup (metro), Lakhimpur, South Salmara and Bongaigaon with one case each.
The girl who tested positive on Tuesday was earlier in quarantine but was allowed to go home after she tested negative in two consecutive tests. She is a resident of Manikpur area in Bongaigaon.
“The girl and her four family members had visited her grandfather Zamaluddin’s house at Chapar in Dhubri district a few days before the latter tested positive for Covid-19 on April 7. As a precautionary measure, the girl and her four family members were quarantined at Bongaigaon civil hospital on April 7. But after receiving two negative swab test reports, the hospital authority sent them to home quarantine,” a health department official in Bongaigaon said.
The hospital had sent their third swab samples for testing on April 24 and the girl tested positive on Tuesday.
Bongaigaon deputy commissioner M.S. Lakshmi Priya said, “It is the first positive case in our district and we are taking steps as per Covid guidelines. The district administration has already marked her village as a containment zone and put restrictions on entry to it. The girl has been sent to Guwahati for better medical care and her family members have been brought to Bongaigaon civil hospital to be kept in isolation.”
Bongaigaon is adjacent to Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts, which are already under strict surveillance as they border West Bengal, which has registered several Covid cases.
Vehicles ply on a Guwahati street on Tuesday amid the lockdown. Picture by UB Photos
Goalpara district registered its fifth case on Tuesday. Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: A person from Goalpara district, secondary contact of a Markaz attendee, has tested #COVID positive.
Sources in Goalpara said the latest patient was a 61-year-old from Karipara area of East Goalpara under Matia development block.
Sources said he was already in quarantine in Goalpara town as he had come in direct contact with an attendee of the Nizamuddin Markaz. He had also tested negative earlier.
Of the five cases in Goalpara, three patients have already been discharged.
In Hailakandi district, 1,715 persons are under home quarantine, including 22 quarantined on Tuesday. Altogether 243 swab samples have been taken in the past fortnight and sent to Silchar Medical College and Hospital. Of the 243, 59 were people whose samples were taken for the second time and 43 for the third time. Of these, 230 swab samples have tested negative, including 15 on Tuesday, health authorities said.
Assam has so far discharged 27 patients and had hoped to release the other seven, who are recovering, this month. With the detection of the two new cases, Assam has now nine active Covid cases. One patient had died.
Sarma had earlier observed that since the Nizamuddin incident had taken place around 40 days back, the state might have broken the coronavirus chain to a large extent. To confirm this, the government had conducted random swab tests in Dhubri district. Altogether 755 samples had been collected in Dhubri till Tuesday, of which 360 tested negative. Reports of 230 samples are awaited. Three patients have been discharged from hospital in the district but kept in quarantine in Dhubri town.
Sarma has said that due to prompt action by the district administrations in the state, all the fresh Covid cases were being reported among those quarantined. “Since the cases are detected among those who were already put under quarantine, we believe the virus has not yet spread in the community at large,” he added.
Additional reporting by Tejesh Tripathy in Bongaigaon, Sofikul Ahmed in Goalpara, Satananda Bhattacharjee in Hailakandi and Mukesh Kumar Singh in Dhubri