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Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi tests positive for COVID-19

Akhil Gogoi.

Akhil Gogoi.  

Jailed peasant leader and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) activist Akhil Gogoi tested COVID-19 positive as the total lockdown in Guwahati was extended by a week on Saturday.

Mr. Gogoi has been in captivity since his arrest on December 12, 2019, for allegedly instigating violence during the anti-CAA protests that led to the death of at least six people. Dhaijya Konwar and Bitu Sonowal, two members of his group Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), also in jail for more than 200 days, had tested positive on July 8.

“His antigen tests a few days ago came out negative. A third test today [Saturday] said he is positive,” IG, Prisons, Dasarath Das said.

KMSS leader battling health issues

Supporters of the KMSS leader have been campaigning for his release from the Guwahati Central Jail since July 9. He has been battling other health issues during captivity, having been hospitalised a few times earlier.

Mr. Das said 55 of some 1,200 prisoners in the jail have tested positive so far. They include National Democratic Front of Boroland founder-chairman Ranjan Daimary and two leaders of a Manipur-based extremist group.

A man caught for several cases of burglaries is believed to have been the source of infection in the jail.

The Assam government on Saturday extended the ongoing total lockdown in the Kamrup (Metropolitan) district by a week till 7 pm on July 19. The lockdown from June 29 was to have ended on Sunday.

Containment of community spread

Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said the extension was deemed necessary in view of the containment of the community spread of COVID-19 to some extent due to the ongoing lockdown. The extension, he added, could help maintain the “encouraging downward trend”.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier said the Health department had recommended a week’s extension though several citizens’ groups had suggested two weeks.

He said one out of every five persons in Guwahati who underwent antigen tests is turning out to be positive, but the infection rate fell from more than 30% prior to the lockdown to 21% now.

“We have conducted about 1 lakh tests in Guwahati, which is 10% of the city’s population of 10 lakh. This is a remarkable achievement,” Mr. Sarma said.

Death rate may come down

He said 36 of the 15,536 people who tested positive across Assam till July 10 have died. But the death rate may come down in view of the guideline of the Indian Council of Medical Research.

“The guideline says COVID-19 has to be an underline cause of death. A board has been constituted to find out the cause of deaths, and accordingly the number may fall,” he said.

Most of those who have been categorised as COVID-19 casualty had co-morbidities.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 3:08:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-one-of-5-antigen-tests-turning-out-positive-in-guwahati-says-health-minister/article32053015.ece

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