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No coronavirus positive case in Assam yet, says minister; asks residents to avoid non-essential travel

From Tuesday, all domestic and foreign passengers will have to go through screening, said Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Updated: Mar 16, 2020 18:50 IST

By Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times Guwahati

A doctor measures the temperature of a passenger using the thermal screening device in the wake of a novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, at Guwahati Railway Station on Monday. (ANI Photo)

The number of coronavirus cases across the country have been rising rapidly, but the situation is different in Assam. State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday that the state has not seen a single confirmed case of coronavirus disease Covid-19.

“Till now, there has been no confirmed case of Covid-19 in Assam. As of now we have three sample testing laboratories in the state and six collection centres,” Sarma told journalists.

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Till date, 38 samples from the state have been tested - two at National Institute of Virology in Pune, 29 at Guwahati Medical College Hospital, six at Regional Medical Research Centre in Dibrugarh and one at Jorhat Medical College Hospital.

“Results of all tests except one each from GMCH and JMCH, which are pending, have been found to be negative. We are hopeful that the results of the two pending tests would also be negative,” said Sarma.

The state has prepared over 2,000 beds for quarantine, 505 beds for isolation of patients, 269 ventilator units in government hospitals and 50 similar ones in private hospitals.

As of now, the government hospitals have 12,129 testing kits, 61,263 triple-layered surgical masks, 5,215 N-95 masks and over 57 lakh pairs of gloves to deal with coronavirus cases.

“Till now we were screening only foreign passengers at airports in the state but from Tuesday all domestic and foreign passengers will have to go through screening. Similarly, passengers of Rajdhani Express trains will be screened at stations in the state where there is stoppage,” said Sarma.

Though the government has issued orders for closure of all educational institutions till March 29, teachers of all government schools will have to visit their schools regularly and spread awareness about coronavirus in nearby areas.

“Teachers will be asked to educate nearby villages about the disease. We have also decided to continue serving uncooked rice and other essentials to students who come to school to ensure that their nutritional needs, which day get as mid-day meal on school days, are met,” he said.

Sarma requested citizens to avoid non-essential social gatherings because if the disease spreads to remote and inaccessible areas of the state, it will become difficult to manage patients.

The minister asked all students and employees who have returned or are returning to the state to inform the nearest authority if they have any of the symptoms associated with coronavirus.

In a separate order, the government has ordered all offices and institutions in the state, both government and private, to stop use of bio-metric attendance machines, where physical contact is required, till March 31.


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