Will need Rs 300 cr for quarantine care if 1 lakh people return, says Assam minister

Updated on May 18, 2020 11:32 PM IST
The Assam government had provided financial assistance of Rs 2,000 each to nearly 4 lakh workers from the state staying outside. As per that figure, it is estimated that nearly 1 lakh of them could return in the next few weeks.
Migrant workers walk on the road to reach their villages during extended coronavirus lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, on the outskirts of Guwahati on May 6.(ANI)
Migrant workers walk on the road to reach their villages during extended coronavirus lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, on the outskirts of Guwahati on May 6.(ANI)
Hindustan Times, Guwahati | ByUtpal Parashar | Edited by Sabir Hussain

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday that the state would need around Rs 300 crore to provide proper quarantine facilities under Covid-19 protocol if nearly one lakh of its residents return from other states.

“The state government is preparing a detailed plan of how much money we can afford to spend on each person in quarantine while ensuring they get good care. Our estimate says, we will have to spend Rs 300 cr if one lakh people are placed in quarantine,” the minister said while addressing a press conference.

The Assam government had provided financial assistance of Rs 2,000 each to nearly 4 lakh workers from the state staying outside. As per that figure, it is estimated that nearly 1 lakh of them could return in the next few weeks.

Sarma said that the Rs 300 cr figure is only for providing care to the quarantined persons including their stay, food, transportation etc. It would cost additional money to treat those found positive. It would cost nearly Rs 30,000 to keep one person in quarantine for 14 days, he added.

“Most of the recent cases that have been detected are of people who were already in quarantine facilities after returning to the state from other parts of the country. It is a good sign as there is no chance of community spread from them,” said Sarma

“But if our quarantine system fails, it will pose a big risk. Therefore all our efforts are effective management of facility as well as home quarantine. We are looking at providing good care to in quarantine with one toilet meant exclusively for one person,” he added.

Sarma appealed to those stranded outside and wishing to come back to either delay their return or come back in a staggered manner to that it doesn’t put severe stress on their management once they arrive in Assam.

“If people come in hordes, we won’t be able to give them proper care and they might have to spend time in quarantine in conditions similar to makeshift relief camps set up during floods. That could mean risk of infection and rise in cases,” he said.

Sarma said that the government has coined a new slogan - ‘Ruthless Quarantine With Big Heart’ - which would require strict compliance of mandatory 14 days quarantine for all returnees while giving them good care and facilities.

Till Monday 48,000 people had returned back to Assam from states in the northeast, other parts of the country and abroad.

With the detection of six new cases on Monday, Assam’s Covid-19 tally rose to 107. While three patients have died, 42 have recovered, 58 are under treatment and two cases have migrated to other states.

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