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After sailing relatively safely through the novel coronavirus pandemic so far, Assam is fearing more widespread infections by the virus in the second phase as people stranded outside will be returning to the state, increasing the chances of bringing the virus with them, state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on April 17.

Talking to reporters at Diphu after inspecting the facilities at the medical college and hospital there, Sarma said, “We are likely to face a more precarious situation in the phase II. But since we have a plan in place, including the list of people likely to enter the state, we think, we shall be able to get through it.”

He said the government has compiled a list of about 10-12 lakh people from the state who are in other parts of the country and will be looking to return, increasing the risk of bringing the virus with them.

Sarma further said the state government was contemplating allowing inter-state movement of people for single passage for one day after April 20 to let people return to their homes or places of work.

The minister informed that the state shall be receiving its first share of Rapid Testing Kits from the central government shortly.

On procuring Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits from China, he said only Chinese factories were manufacturing at present, and countries like the US were also buying from them.

Meanwhile, four more cured patients were discharged on April 17, taking the total number of recoveries to nine.

The four patients were discharged from Golaghat civil hospital, while five others were discharged over the last two days.

Altogether 34 positive cases of COVID 19 have been detected in the state so far, including one person succumbing to complications caused by the infection and nine other discharged from hospitals after recovery.

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