|Educational institutes in State shut down till March 29|
GUWAHATI, March 15 - To prevent spread of coronavirus pandemic in the State, the Assam government on Sunday declared that all schools, colleges, universities, gymnasiums, swimming pools and cinema halls will remain closed till March 29.
During this period, except the CBSE and other Board examinations, all other examinations will stay postponed.
Meanwhile, tourist footfall in the State has dropped by 40 per cent.
Announcing this at a press conference here, Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said the State government was working to ensure adequate stock of sanitisers and masks which are necessary to prevent contamination by the deadly virus.
According to the State government, till Sunday altogether 253 travellers coming from countries affected by COVID-19 had been identified and all of them were being kept under home quarantine.
“Till today, the health department has collected 19 samples for testing and all of them were found COVID-19 negative. The government has also set up a control room that has received more than 300 calls till date,” he said.
Moreover, in the past few days, the health department screened altogether 1,075 passengers in different airports of the State. Among them, 337 were screened at LGBI airport here, 316 at Dibrugarh, 318 at Rowriah, Jorhat, 13 at Kumbhirgram, Silchar, 25 at Lilabari, North Lakhimpur and 62 at Salonibari airport of Tezpur.
As a precautionary measure, the department has kept two ambulances at the LGBI airport and one ambulance each at Dibrugarh, Rowriah, Kumbhirgram, Lilabari and Salonibari airports.
The health department stated that at present, nine beds at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, ten beds at Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, eight beds at Silchar Medical College and Hospital, seven beds at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital, eight beds at Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital, Barpeta and seven beds each at Tezpur Medical College and Hospital and Diphu Medical College and Hospital are available in isolation wards with ICU and ventilator facilities.
Sanjay Krishna said the government has created quarantine centres with a capacity to keep 800 people at a time along with isolation centres for more than 100 people in different locations of the State. At present, Assam has 100 ICUs to deal with COVID-19 patients. These ICUs are located in both government and private hospitals.
Though no positive case has been detected in the State, the government is planning for a large-scale mass awareness drive with the help of 42,000 ASHA workers along with gaon panchayat officials.
“We have asked all DCs to discourage all kinds of public gathering. Personally, I also appeal to all the people to think twice before joining any public gathering. Already directions have been issued to cancel all kinds of government functions which were scheduled to be held in the coming days. Especially in urban areas, all municipal boards and town committees have been directed to carry out continuous cleanliness drives in all marketplaces,” the Chief Secretary said.
At present, the COVID-19 testing facilities are available at the medical college hospitals of Guwahati and Dibrugarh. From Monday, the facility will be made available at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital too. It takes around six hours to test a sample for COVID-19.
Though the government sealed most of the international border entry points, still three such entry points remain open in Assam. These are Patharkandi and Mankachar on Bangladesh border and Darranga on Bhutan border. In these points medical teams have been carrying out continuous testing of visitors.