Assam closes schools, gyms, national parks as preventive measure against Covid-19

Updated on Mar 16, 2020 08:44 AM IST

Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said that till date no positive case of disease Covid-19 has been found in Assam.

Passenger wearing protective mask in the wake of novel coronavirus, at Guwahati Railway Station last week.(ANI Photo)
Passenger wearing protective mask in the wake of novel coronavirus, at Guwahati Railway Station last week.(ANI Photo)
Hindustan Times, Guwahati | By

The Assam government on Sunday announced closure of all schools, colleges, universities, gymnasiums, swimming pools and cinema halls in the state till March 29 as state governments ramped up measures to avoid community transmission of coronavirus.

The state government has also decided to close all national parks, tiger reserves and sanctuaries in the state beginning Tuesday.

“It is decided that mass gatherings may be avoided in wildlife conservation and protected areas of the state till the disease spread is contained,” an order by additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden MK Yadava read.

Assam has five national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries including the famous Kaziranga and Manas national parks and most of them witness footfall of thousands of visitors during the peak season between October till April.

Permissions granted for film shoots and research in protected areas will also remained suspended till March 29.

Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna informed that till date no positive case of coronavirus disease Covid-19 has been found in the state and adequate measures are in place.

“As a preventive measure, schools, colleges, universities, swimming pools, gymnasiums and cinema halls will remain closed till March 29. Except CBSE and state board exams all other exams will be postponed,” he said at a press briefing about the disease.

Till date, 1075 persons have been screened in Assam, 253 kept under observation at home and 11 suspected cases admitted to hospitals. Tests of samples taken from all 19 patients who had shown symptoms of coronavirus have been found negative.

A total of 253 travellers from Covid-19 affected countries have been identified and out of them 123 have completed observation period of 28 days while remaining 130 are under home isolation.

“Over 800 quarantine facilities and 100 plus isolation centres have been kept ready across the state. Over 50 ICU beds in government hospitals and a similar number in private hospitals have also been kept for coronavirus patients,” Krishna added.

A release informed that 599 persons who came in contact with a US tourist, who travelled across Assam and was later found positive in Bhutan, were identified and kept under observation. Test samples of five of them who showed symptoms have been found negative.

Rapid response teams have been constituted in all districts and training imparted. Training of doctors, nurses and para-medical staff is being conducted and awareness drives initiated.

The government has cancelled most of its functions and asked the public not to organise events where mass gatherings could take place. People have been urged not to panic and maintain private hygiene.

“We have enough stock of food materials, LPG cylinders and other essentials and have asked the food and civil supplies department to regularly monitor the situation,” said Krishna.

Under instructions from the Union Home Ministry, only three border points - Sutarkandi and Mancachar bordering Bangladesh, and Darranga bordering Bhutan - are open at present. Monitoring and medical checkups are being conducted at all these points.

“This is the peak tourist season and on an average we have 500 foreign tourists in Assam daily. We would request the people of the state to treat them well and not fall prey to misinformation,” said M Angamuthu, commissioner and secretary (tourism).

This week, a Greek woman tourist who had come to visit Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island, and a Spanish tourist who had reached Silchar on a bicycle, faced problems in accommodation and transport following fears among public that the foreigners could be carrying the virus.

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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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