Tinsukia. A day before polling, 36 persons, including 34 female students of a residential school in Assam’s Tinsukia district tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday evening.
The development assumes significance as several states in India are reportedly in the grip of a second wave of the Coronavirus, prompting state governments to declare night curfew and lockdowns in the most affected regions.
The surge also came at a time when state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters during election rallies that there is nothing to worry about COVID-19 in Assam.
According to sources, the matron of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya School at Bordubi tested positive for Covid-19 earlier on Friday. This prompted the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) team to swing into action and start the contact tracing exercise.
“During contact tracing, we found 34 students and a cook positive for Covid-19 out of total 87 tests conducted,” an official with the National Health Mission (NHM) told EastMojo, adding, “All patients are asymptomatic and have been shifted to civil hospital in Tinsukia.”
The official said school authorities have been asked to monitor students who have tested negative for any symptoms in the coming days.
The fresh cases from a single school signals the rising threat of spread of COVID-19 in a second wave, also witnessed by many other states in India, including Maharashtra and Karnataka.
“Citizens are worried that once elections are over, Assam may see a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, and may result is imposition of several restrictions by authorities once again to stop the spread of COVID-19,” a resident of Tinsukia said, pointing out that recently a religious procession was granted permission, three days after it was cancelled.
In light of the Assam Assembly election and vote-bank politics at this juncture, the permission was re-instated subject to maintenance of COVID-19 protocols besides other terms and conditions.
Several districts in Upper Assam, where polling is underway for the first-phase of Assembly election have witnessed huge crowds in various back-to-back campaigns and rallies, raising concerns of spike in COVID-19 cases.