Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

As Guwahati continued to witness a massive spike in COVID-19 positive cases, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on July 5 blamed a section of media for ‘trivializing’ the pandemic, and alleged that it has contributed to spread of the virus in the city.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Sarma said, “There have been 1-2 newspapers which have been spreading that COVID-19 is no disease, and this has led to rapid deterioration in the situation in the city, I believe.”

He also hit out at people criticizing doctors and hospital facilities, alleging that such criticism was mostly for political gains.

“No doctors, nurses and other medical staff in any other state is displaying such exemplary work as in our state, I feel. We have just started becoming a part of the pandemic. I request the media, the social media users not to de-motivate them,” Sarma said.

Raising alarm at the situation in Guwahati, the minister said 782 COVID-19 positive cases were detected in Kamrup Metro district on July 4, while 2,741 have been found in last 10 days without any travel history.

“The AG testing kits are proving to be very helpful as the results are available almost immediately. We have detected 125 positive cases today (July 5) in the city already. Yesterday, 30 per cent of those tested turned out positive in the city,” he said.

The minister said review of the total lockdown in Guwahati will be done mid-next week and decision will be taken depending on the COVID-19 situation.

The 14-day lockdown in the entire Kamrup Metro district, under which Guwahati comes, had started on June 29 and few relaxations would be effective for the week from July 6 to July 12, with strict observance of COVID-19 protocols.

Assam has been ranked fourth among major states in the country in number of tests per million by the Niti Aayog, the minister said, adding that over 4.55 lakh tests have been conducted in the state so far.

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