With the COVID-19 situation slowly coming under control, Assam’s Minister of Health Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday issued relaxations for those traveling both to and from the state.
Mr Sarma said the new standard operating procedure (SOP) relaxations will apply to all air, rail and road passengers.
The order issued by Principal Secretary of Health Department Samir K Sinha, after Mr. Sarma’s announcement, said that anyone traveling to Assam with an RT-PCR test from their point of origin within 72 hours and tested negative COVID-19 will not have to be tested on arrival.
“Previously, we removed the mandatory institutional isolation of every traveler upon returning from the outside and now we have also exempted the testing of those who have already tested themselves from their point of origin,” Mr. Sarma.
He said diplomats or those of international multilateral organizations such as UNICEF, the World Bank or WHO or those subject to covert operations by central investigative agencies whose identity concealment is a prerogative with the reason for their visit, will not have to test themselves on their arrival.
For those coming out of state, Mr Sarma said: “If they come back within 24 hours, they won’t have to test themselves. We thought about extending this period a bit, but Delhi still reports a lot of new infections. “
Regarding SOP, Mr Sarma said: “Putting swabs in the sensitive noses of children is irritating. So in the case of children under the age of 10, if their parents wish, they will not be tested. The prerogative to test rests with the parents who, of course, will have to test themselves. “
The relaxations came after an optimistic Mr Sarma said the parameters of COVID-19 had started to show signs of receding.
“We thought there will be an increase in cases after Durga Puja, but nothing like that happened in the next five days. Instead, active cases have increased from 36,000 in September to 10 Currently 421. The recovery rate is 95%, the second highest after Tamil Nadu, ”Sarma said.
The only worrying parameter, said Sarma, is the death rate which has remained unchanged with 926 deaths due to “late notification of infection”.
More than two lakh in Assam have been infected, of which more than 1.94 lakh have recovered.