Guwahati, May 22 (IANS) As no new positive case was reported in seven northeasatern states, Assam's Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that 57 new cases were reported in his state in 24 hours to take its total count to 256 on Friday night.
Currently, Assam has 195 active cases. Of the 33 districts, there is no COVID-19 patient in 8 districts.
According to the Minister, most of the 57 persons who tested positive were already lodged in quarantine centres in different districts of Assam.
Sarma said that the sudden rise in corona cases is due to large-scale return of Assam natives to the state after the Home Ministry withdrew the inter-state transport restriction on May 4.
A large number of returnees were quarantined at the Sarusajai stadium, a sports complex turned into a 1,000- bed quarantine zone by the Assam government last month. Most positive cases are from Sarusajai quarantine centre in Guwahati.
So far, by train and by road, 37,000 people, mostly from southern and western India, have returned to Assam while over 12 lakh Assamese are residing in different parts of the country.
Of the 256 cases, 54 patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals, three migrated to other states, and four died, including a 16-year-old girl.
The first confirmed corona case was reported on March 31 in southern Assam's Badarpur, after a 52-year-old returnee from Nizamuddin Markaz tested positive at the Silchar Medical College.
"Earlier this month, the doubling rate of Covid-19 cases in Assam was 27 days which has now come down to 6 days," the minister said.
The Assam government has launched "Ruthless Quarantine, With Big Heart" scheme to check the spread of coronavirus, under which suspected patients must remain in 7-day instutional and 7-day home quarantine. The government will spend Rs 13,000 per head for 14 days.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Friday said his government has donated 5,000 Viral Test Media (VTMs) to Assam as positive cases are increasing in the neighbouring state.
The VTM is used for collecting blood samples of persons with suspected coronavirus infection.