Assam’s Covid surge after Bihu festivities continues

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The surge of Covid-19 infections in Assam after the harvest festival ‘Bhogali Bihu’ continued as 8,339 cases were reported on Wednesday, Health Minister Keshab Mahanta said.

According to the reports of National Health Mission (NHM) in Assam on Wednesday night, the positivity rose to 12.89 per cent from Monday’s 10.75 per cent.

With the new cases on Wednesday, the total tally in Assam climbed to 6,70,128 and 15 more fatalities pushed the toll to 6,248.

Of its 34 districts, Kamrup (Metro) district, where the state capital Dispur and northeastern region’s main commercial hub Guwahati falls, registered highest Covid positive cases of 1,929 on Wednesday followed by Dibrugarh (513), Jorhat (414) and Cachar district (396).

An analysis by IANS of NHM reports said the state witnessed a 19.43 per cent increase in Covid positive cases in the past 48 hours as the northeastern state celebrated ‘Bhogali Bihu’, also called ‘Magh Bihu’ last week.

The daily positivity rate of 7.87 per cent on Thursday, a day before the Bihu festivity, rose to 12.89 per cent on Wednesday night while it was only 0.77 per cent on January 1.

According to the NHM reports, the active Covid cases stood at 918 on January 1 and rose to 13,785 on Thursday last week, and further to 35,161 on Wednesday night.

Assam has been witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the new year with nearly 35,000 fresh cases in the past fortnight. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while urging the people to maintain utmost alertness to prevent the spread of the infectious virus, told the media that the state government is not considering imposing a lockdown in the state at the moment.

The Assam government earlier this month while imposing various restrictions including closure of elementary standard classes of schools and rotational classes for non-elementary classes, advanced the night curfew to 10 p.m. from 11.30 p.m., and it would continue till 6 a.m.

As part of the colourful Bihu festival, lakhs of men, women and children took part in the ‘Uruka’, the night of feast and merriment which is celebrated a day before the Bhogali Bihu, while people assembling around ‘Mejis’ (makeshift houses made of straw and bamboo) and lighting them, seeking the blessings of the elders.

The traditional community feasts in the open grounds and even in paddy fields is the main event of the ‘Bhogali Bihu’.

The Assam government had earlier also relaxed the Covid restrictions for the Bihu festival.

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