The ongoing two-week lockdown in Kamrup Metro district of Assam, under which Guwahati city comes, has been extended by another week to check the spread of COVID-19.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna issued the notification extending the lockdown till 7 pm of July 19.

Essential and emergency services have been exempted from the lockdown, while wholesale and retail of essential commodities as well as house-to-house sale of fruits and vegetables have been allowed during specified hours and days.

The district administration has been asked to ensure supply of essential commodities to the poorest of the society, while also permitting willing NGOs to serve cooked food to these sections.

The deputy commissioner of the district has also been asked to identify the sick and elderly people and put in place a mechanism for availability of critical care, when required.

Earlier on July 11 afternoon, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said at a press conference that his department has recommended a one week extension of the lockdown.

The minister further said nearly one-tenth of the 10 lakh population of the city have been already tested for COVID-19, with the positivity rate through AG testing kits coming down from 30 per cent in the first two days when lockdown had commenced to 16 per cent in the last two days.

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In case of repeat tests for negative cases of AG kits, 2.15 per cent have tested positive in RT-PCR repeat tests, he said, adding that it indicates that “people of Guwahati can rely largely on the AG tests”.

“Though the positivity rate has come down, COVID-19 is very much active in the city,” he added.

Citing increase in ‘morbidity and mortality rates’ in the city due to refusal of private hospitals to attend to patients until they test negative for COVID-19, Sarma said the Health department has activated a facility for patients requiring immediate hospitalization to get their COVID-19 result within 24 hours on a priority basis if they deposit their sample at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Guwahati before 12 noon every day.

On ramping up treatment facilities for increasing COVID-19 patients in the city, he informed additional 800 beds would be available soon in two more facilities, while about 1,000 beds in COVID Care Centres and over 100 beds in dedicated hospitals are still vacant.

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