Eight people, four each in Guwahati and Silchar, tested positive for COVID-19 in Assam on Thursday, taking the number of cases in the state to 53, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
There are 18 active cases of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the state, while 34 people have recovered so far, Sarma said.
“Four persons in Guwahati test #COVID19+ One of them had come from outside Assam, and is in home quarantine, while 3 are from Guwahati,” he tweeted.
“Four persons, who took the same bus from Rajasthan in which the Cachar dist #COVID19+ person travelled, have tested positive too,” Sarma added.
The person who tested positive in Silchar on Wednesday night has cases pending against him in Sonitpur district. Police are investigating how he managed to reach Ajmer in Rajasthan and return to Silchar in a bus, Sarma told reporters.
A bus carrying 42 passengers had arrived in Silchar from Ajmer. Samples of one of the passengers tested positive for COVID-19, following which certain areas were declared as containment zones, he said.
Subsequently, samples of four other persons were tested, results of which returned positive, Sarma said.
It has been decided that all persons coming from “red-zone states” to Assam will be placed under institutional quarantine till the results of their first tests are received, the minister said.
Sarma said the entry of stranded persons to the state was being monitored by a committee, with Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) G P Singh as its nodal officer.
“The permission for travel of stranded persons to Assam is being given by this committee,” Sarma said. “But in this particular case, the bus was arranged in Ajmer and the permission was given by deputy commissioner of the Rajasthan district.”
The Assam government is ensuring that returnees maintain social distancing in the buses and the vehicles ply with only 50 per cent of their capacity but “in this case, 42 people were travelling in the bus”, Sarma said.
The health and home departments will coordinate to regulate the entry of people to Assam and screening of the passengers will be increased, he added.