Himanta Biswa Sarma
said on Saturday that the Covid-19 situation in Guwahati was "getting critical" and warned of a
in the city if a drive from June 15 to test 50,000
of citizens gives any indication of community transmission.
Sarma's alert comes after 25 people in the city with no travel history tested
. "We have not been able to ascertain the sources of their infection because they have no travel history. Guwahati's situation is getting critical," he said.
"We have decided to test 50,000 samples from June 15 to 30 and, if we get a sizeable number of positive cases out of this drive, say something around 500 cases, we may have to bring Guwahati under a second lockdown. We may also modify the night curfew from 7pm instead of the existing 9pm," Sarma said.
The mega testing drive, the first in the state, will be in two modes - one by the department and the other voluntary.
"Our preliminary assessment is that most of these positive cases are directly or indirectly connected to loading and unloading work in the 153 godowns or people living in the vicinity of these godowns. Petrol depots, weigh bridges and highway dhabas and hospitals could also be possible epicentres. Health workers will go from house to house and direct symptomatic people to test their samples," Sarma said.
The health department will also open sample collection centres at 12 points in the city where a citizen can voluntarily give his or her sample for testing.
"We do not want to straightaway reimpose a lockdown on the basis of 25 cases. We want to build a bigger sample size of 50,000 to ascertain the ground situation before taking any decision because a second lockdown will be difficult for people when the economy has just started growing," Sarma said.
He said the state government has also written to the civil aviation ministry to restrict daily flights to Guwahati to 25. "Social distancing cannot be maintained if there are more than 25 flights daily," Sarma said .