• Covid-19: Third wave sneaks into Assam rural districts
    Times of India | 13 January 2022
  • GUWAHATI: Distant and rural districts of Assam, which were free from third wave to a great extent till last week, have started witnessing a sudden rise in Covid caseload.

    Sattra land and world’s biggest riverine island district, Majuli in upper Assam, had only two cases in the last 10 days on January 9.

    Between December 29 and January 7, not even a single Covid case was detected in the district that remains free from the urban buzz due to its remoteness. But Majuli, which was believed to be safest so far as the flow of “outsiders” is concerned, 20 Covid cases were detected in the past 10 days.

    Nevertheless, while in state capital Guwahati, the positivity rate has gone beyond 10%, in Majuli it is still around 1.7% on Wednesday.

    Even as the threat from foreign travellers seems to be minimal in the district, inter-district travel may turn the situation worse in the coming weeks, despite best efforts to isolate the cases on landing in ferries. “We are detecting the cases mostly among returnees from adjacent Jorhat district. Thorough testing is being done in the ferries in the Brahmaputra river ghat used by the commuters to reach Majuli,” said Dhrubajyoti Das, district programme manager at National Health Mission (NHM) in Majuli.

    He said even as tests are being conducted in the district, health teams are not finding a significant number of cases. The biggest challenge for the Majuli administration is, however, the ghats of smaller tributaries of the Brahmaputra which are being used by villagers to commute to other districts, especially Jorhat, and remain unmanaged. In the south of Majuli, Jorhat is a nerve centre of upper Assam from where the second highest — 215 positive cases — were detected on Tuesday.

    In the far west of Assam’s map, South Salmara Mankachar district had one case in 10 days till January 7. However, by Tuesday night, the corresponding figure touched eight. In the hill district of West Karbi Anglong, which has some of the remotest villages in Assam, fresh cases are steadily growing. The hill district had 10 cases in the last 10 days on January 7. But the 10-day caseload in West Karbi Anglong went up to 27 on Tuesday.

    On the other hand, in South Salmara Mankachar too, a senior health official said due to remoteness and low inflow of the people from other parts of the state and the country, the district has not yet seen a major spike in cases.
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