Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam government on September 25 announced that recovered COVID-19 patients travelling to the state will no longer require to undergo test for the virus, if they are asymptomatic, while also reducing the period of home quarantine for people entering from outside the state.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “Based on scientific evidence, we are the first state in the country which has decided that no COVID-19 test will be required for people entering the state who have recovered from the infection. They have to show the hospital discharge certificate or ICMR-approved report. It will be applicable for air as well as train travellers.”

“However, if they are displaying any symptom, like high temperature, it would be different,” he added.

Sarma further said that air travellers who land at Guwahati airport will henceforth have the option of paying Rs 2,200 for getting their RT-PCR test report within 24 hours and shall be out of quarantine if they test negative as soon as the result is given.

“For air travellers who do not wish to pay or are landing at other airports of the state, they will get their RT-PCR test report within 3-5 days and if negative, their quarantine will end the same day,” he added.

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All air travellers will have to first undergo rapid antigen test upon arrival, and if found positive will have to undergo treatment, and only if they are found negative, sample for RT-PCR test will be collected, he added.

The minister also announced launch of a mobile phone application in which the air travellers can fill up forms required at the airport for submission, which will save time and ensure lesser crowds at the airports.

On the current COVID-19 status in the state, he said the doubling rate has gone up to 36 days from 30 days, and the positivity rate in the current month of September is lesser than that of August.

Over 3,500 patients in the state have been administered advanced COVID-19 treatment, including 1,800 patients receiving plasma therapy, and a clinical study report compiled by doctors of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) has concluded that administering plasma therapy at an early stage is effective, the minister informed.

He further said another clinical trial of a combination of drugs found effective in the US is going on in the GMCH.

He maintained that there were adequate number of hospital beds and ICU beds for COVID-19 patients at the moment, and the government was working on increasing it further.

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A week-long door-to-door awareness campaign was launched two days back, and at the end of it, the Health department has targeted one lakh test per day from September 28-30, the minister added.

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