A high alert has been sounded across Assam to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after the reports emerged that an American citizen, who visited the state before flying to Bhutan, has tested positive for coronavirus.
The 76-year-old US national had come to Assam on February 21st, 2020 with his 59-year-old partner and had travelled to several places before flying to Bhutan from the LGBI Airport in Guwahati on March 2nd, 2020.
Bhutan Prime Minister’s Office on March 6th, 2020 said that one case of coronavirus was confirmed at 11 pm on March 5th, 2020 and the result was validated at 12:30 am on March 6th, 2020.
The Assam government is now tracking the travel itinerary of the tourist and his partner and also the details of a seven-day Brahmaputra river cruise which they took before leaving to Bhutan.
They also stayed in Guwahati’s Radisson Blu Hotel before flying to Bhutan by Drukair flight KB241. The government is trying to track down people who may have been in touch with him during his stay in Assam.
The Radisson Blu Hotel has sent the staff on quarantine as a precautionary measure. The authorities also sealed the second floor of the posh hotel where the US national stayed in one of the rooms.
The Jorhat district administration tracked the US national’s stay on February 22nd, 2020 to Thengal Manor. “The staff of Thengal Manor have been placed in isolation and a health team will be monitoring their status daily. They are all asymptomatic,” said Roshni Korati, Deputy Commissioner, Jorhat.
The river cruise MV Mahabahu Brahmaputra has returned to Neematighat, Jorhat. The cruise has 22 guests and 29 crew members. “All have been placed in isolation in the boat itself, presently stationed at Neematighat,” Korati added.
The district administrations have been directed to take appropriate and preventive measures advised by the Centre to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
On the other hand, an Italian national was put under observation at a hotel in Tezpur of Sonitpur district on March 6th, 2020 after he arrived there amidst the coronavirus scare.
The foreigner, however, did not have any of the symptoms of the disease. It may be mentioned, Italy is one of the worst-hit countries after China, where the disease broke out. The visitor’s samples have been collected and sent for testing. Meanwhile, a businessman in Bongaigaon who was suspected to be infected by the deadly virus has tested negative.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 6th, 2020 said that there are no cases of Coronavirus infection in Assam.
Assam minister of state (MoS) for Health, Pijush Hazarika appealed to the citizens to stay away from Holi mass gatherings. The government has directed the magistrates of all districts of the state to ensure that no mass gathering takes place during Holi festival or after that.
So far, 31 positive cases of the virus have been reported in India and more than 29,000 people are under surveillance. Nineteen of the cases are in Delhi.
Photo credit: @aaidibairport