36 COVID-19 tests carried out, 34 found negative

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Entry of daily visitors restricted to 100 at Janata Bhawan, ** Kamakhya Temple suspends daily ‘bhog’, protected areas to shut from today

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 16: “No person has been tested positive for COVID-19 in Assam,” Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed while stating that the state health and family welfare department is fully prepared to deal with the situation arising out of the COVID 19 outbreak across the globe.

“In Assam, we have tested large number of people, but every result has come out negative. So, we don’t have any confirm coronavirus case in the state as of now. But two tests results are pending. We have decided to increase surveillance in railway stations and airports. Instead of international tourists, we have decided to test even the domestic passengers also,” Sarma said.

“Out of 29 samples tested so far at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), 28 cases have been declared negative. We will get the result of one pending case by this evening,” Sarma told reporters here on Monday.

“Six coronavirus tests, including the driver of an American tourist and 5 foreign tourists who travelled on MV Mahabahu cruise were carried out at Regional Medical Research Centre, Dibrugarh,” Sarma said.

“All of them have been tested negative,” Sarma further said.

“Today we have tested one case at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH). The result for this test is yet to come,” Sarma informed.

Considering the gravity of the situation, the state health and family welfare department will start screening of the domestic tourist in all airports and railway stations across the state as a precautionary measure to check spread of COVID-19, he said.

He said instead of the passengers coming from the foreign countries, thermal screening and other tests of domestic passengers will also be started in all airports, railway stations in the state from Tuesday.

“The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has accredited three laboratories and also allowed three testing sites in Assam. As of now Assam has three accredited laboratories and three testing sites. We have created more than 2,000 quarantine facility, 500 isolation beds and all required equipment kits are available with us,” the minister also said.

He further said group control room, task forces are working to check spread of the deadly novel coronavirus in the state.

“As a precautionary measure we have shut down all educational institutions, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools in the state till March 29. We have not received any advisory notice from the Centre regarding shut down of the shopping malls. We have directed all teachers to go to different villages and create awareness among the people,” Sarma added.

Meanwhile, the state government has restricted the entry of daily visitors to 100 at Janata Bhawan Complex as a preventive measure to arrest the spread of coronavirus in the state.

“It is decided that mass gathering and movement of daily visitors coming from various places be restricted to a minimum level in the Janata Bhawan Complex till the spread of disease is contained,” an official release here said.

“In order to prevent any accidental spread of CoVID-19 virus in the Janata Bhawan Complex, an order has been issued with immediate effect to restrict the entry of daily visitors to 100 persons per day till March 31,” the release said.

“In addition to this, all passes including vehicle entry passes issued by different departments has been stopped with immediate effect till March 31. Only in urgent cases, the secretariat administration department (SAD) will issue passes on receipt of request from other dtill March 31,” it added.

As a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus, the Kamakhya Temple has started providing visitors with hand sanitiser and decided to temporarily stop the daily ‘bhog’ (food offering) from Tuesday.

As per government recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus, Temple Doloi (head) Kabindra Prasad Sarma on Monday said the temple administration was providing the devotees with hand sanitiser at the entry and exit points of the mandir premises.

Floors and hand railings in the temple premises were being washed and disinfected frequently, Sarma said.

The administration also suspended the daily ‘bhog’ from Tuesday and notices in this regard have been put up in several places of the temple.

The areas in the premises where large gatherings usually take place were being gradually shut down, Sarma said and appealed to the devotees to cooperate with the temple administration.

Apart from the temple of Maa Kamakhya, that of Dasamahavidya, Kali, Tara, Bhubaneswari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati and Lord Shiva are there in the premises.

The state government has ordered shutting of protected areas in the state in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

A notification issued by additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden MK Yadava said that mass gatherings in protected areas like tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries may be avoided till COVID-19 is contained.

The tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries shall remain closed from March 17 to March 29 while the State Zoo cum Botanical Garden in Guwahati will remain out of bounds for visitors with immediate effect till March 29, the order said.

“This measure has been taken to prevent the spread of the disease and in pursuance of the notification issued by the Central Zoo Authority of India and the Assam General Administration Department,” it said.

Permission granted for the shooting of films and conduct of research shall also remain suspended till March 29, the order added.

The director of land records & surveys informed that due to global outbreak of coronavirus, the entrance test for RCCC training scheduled to be held on March 22 stands postponed, an official release informed here Monday.

The re-scheduled date for holding the Entrance Test will be intimated in due course.


Biometric attendance stopped

In view of threat of coronavirus and as a part to ensure all possible preventive measures to stop virus from spreading, the state government has directed all offices in the state/ institutions (both public/private)/ PSUs/commercial organizations to stop use of such biometric attendance system where physical contact is required with the system to record attendance.

However, any other biometric attendance system where physical contact is not required (like face recognition etc.) shall continue to be used as earlier.

During this period, the attendance may be marked manually in the office registers and maintained by head of office appropriately, an official release said here.

This order will remain in force till March 31, it added.

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