The Assam government is facing a Himalayan challenge as it has to prepare for tackling the flood which generally occurs during the Monsoon season and the outbreak of the Japanese encephalitis, besides controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday.
In an interactive session with editors and senior journalists of the state called by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Mr Sarma said the central and state governments expect that the number of coronavirus cases in the country will touch its peak on August 15, if the May 15 figure does not remain static or decrease.
"And that number will be in crores not thousands, not lakhs. The yardstick of measurement is that if on May 15 the number of Covid 19 patients becomes 65,000, the figure will cross one crore on August 15," he said.
If the number remains static at 65,000 or decreases, "we will be able to come out of the corona pandemic situation. If the lockdown was not there, we would have seen eight crore Covid patients by August 15," he said.
On the mortality rate of Covid-19, Mr Sarma said it is 7 per cent globally, 3.28 per cent in India and 2.38 per cent in Assam.
By August 15, Assam generally witnesses flood and Japanese encephalitis, and so, the state is facing a "Himalayan challenge", Mr Sarma said.
The state government has decided to upscale certain areas to Red one depending on the prevailing situation, as from May 4, many restrictions of Lockdown will be relaxed and most economic activities resume, he said.
Regarding the financial condition of the state, Mr Sarma said presently Rs 4,900 crore is available in the state exchequer in spite of the economic slowdown.
The state government has decided to release the full salary of government employees for the month of June and continue with regular appointment in government departments.