In a bid to prevent the spread of lethal coronavirus, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 16th, 2020 advised people to avoid mass gathering and greet with Namaste instead of shaking hands.
“It would not be easy to reach the remotest areas if the virus spreads in the state. Hence, people should avoid mass gathering and should maintain at least one-meter distance from another person,” the minister said while addressing a press conference here in the city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promoted namaste, saying that the world is increasingly adopting the no-contact way of greeting. Falling in line with one of the fundamental precautionary measures to avoid physical contact, US President Donald Trump on March 12th, 2020, greeted Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar with a ‘namaste’.
Statistics of suspected cases
Talking about the samples tested for coronavirus in the GMCH, Sarma said, “A total of 29 samples have been tested so far at GMCH. Of these, 28 were tested negative and the result of the one sample is yet to come.”
Sarma, who is also the Finance Minister of the state, said six samples, which were tested at RMRC, Lahowal, were also found negative while one sample was tested at JMCH, the result of which is yet to be received.
Besides, the minister said that all the samples collected earlier were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune. “All the samples have been tested in the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) gave accreditation,” he added.
The minister further informed that three laboratories are in operation for coronavirus tests in the state. “The laboratories are installed in GMCH, Jorhat Medical College and Hospital and the Regional Medical Research Centre, Lahowal,” he added.
Moreover, sample collection centres have been installed Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital, Barpeta, Tezpur Medical College and Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Sarma told reporters.
Equipped to fight
Saying that the state government has taken all the measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Sarma said that Assam has no shortage of medical equipment and other necessary facilities to fight against coronavirus.
“A total of 2000 people can be quarantined at a time in the state while 507 isolated beds are ready. A total of 12,129 PP kits, 61,263 triple layer masks, 5,215 N95 masks and 57,69,166 pairs of gloves are available with the government as of now,” Sarma said.
The minister further said that the state has a total of 269 ventilation capacity excluding the private hospitals for the positive coronavirus cases if detected.
Sarma informed that screening of the passengers at the airports and railway stations have been upped. “All the domestic passengers will also be screened at all the airports of the states from March 17th, 2020,” he added.
“Screening of the passengers at the railway stations, where Rajdhani Express halts, has been upped,” Sarma said.
The government has decided to shut all its tiger reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and the Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden till March 29th, 2020. The government has also suspended all permissions granted for film shootings and research works in the wildlife spots. This comes after the government decided to shut all schools, colleges, universities, movie halls, gyms and swimming pools to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The Gauhati High Court announced that the Principal Seat of the High Court, as well as its outlying Benches at Kohima, Aizawl and Itanagar, will be restricted to urgent matters only in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.