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UK returnee tests COVID-19 positive in Assam

A traveller from the UK, who arrived here a few days ago, has tested positive for COVID-19 and the swab samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune to ascertain whether the patient has contracted a new strain of coronavirus, Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

The person returned to the state recently amid concern over the detection of a mutated and more infectious strain of COVID-19 in the European country and has been admitted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital here, he told reporters.

“The samples of the patient have been sent to NIV, Pune to ascertain whether the person has contracted the new strain of COVID-19 or not. We will provide the details only after we get the report,” the minister said.

Asked whether the government will enforce fresh lockdown to contain the spread of the disease in the state, Sarma said there is no possibility of taking any such measure as the number of daily cases have come down to less than 100.

Most of the recent cases were found during contact tracing, and many new patients have travel history, he said.

“As of now, we are heading for a regular and normal life with the reopening of schools and colleges from January 1,” Sarma said.

Assam’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 2,15,755 with detection 95 fresh cases on Thursday and 1,033 people have succumbed to the disease. The number of active cases stood at 3,456, while 2,11,283 people have recovered from the infection.

Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua had on Thursday issued fresh COVID-19 guidelines, restricting large gatherings during the Christmas and new year celebrations.

The order, which will remain in force till January 10 next year, said no gathering of more than 50 people will be allowed.

According to the guidelines, the total number of attendees for indoor events should not exceed 50 per cent of the capacity of a venue, and the gatherings should be restricted for outdoor functions to ensure that physical distancing norms are followed.

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