Assam asks returning people to test for coronavirus

Assam asks people returning from Kerala, Karnataka to get tested for coronavirus

Photo: Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi reviews the preparedness to prevent spread of Coronavirus in Guwahati on Monday. (Photo credit: Raj Bhavan, Assam)

Assam government on Monday asked students and professionals returning from Kerala and Karnataka to go for tests voluntarily as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Since the educational institutions and many work stations have been shut in many states, students and professionals living mainly in Kerala and Karnataka are rushing back home. So i want to request them to visit the government hospitals for tests on their own in case of slight symptomp. I request everyone not to shy away from tests and hide the infection. Because once someone comes infected and it spreads, it will be difficult for us to tackle the situation," health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters here.

Karnataka, mainly Bengaluru is a favourite education destination for thousands of students from Assam while large number of people works in Kerala too.

Stating that all samples collected and tested so far were found to be negative, Sarma said the department decided to test all passengers in the state's airports from tomorrow as part of pre-cationary measures. "We also want to urge everyone to avoid non-essential events, be it marriage or birthday parties. At the same time we urge everyone not to panic but maintain personal hygiene," he said.

The state government on Sunday decided to shut all schools, colleges, universities (except board/university examinations) and movie halls till March 29 as part of its preparation to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Wildlife spots shut

The state government also decided to shut its tiger reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and the state zoo till March 29 as part of its preparation to prevent the spread of Cornonavirus.

The state forest and environment department also decided to suspend all permissions granted for film shootings and research works in such wildlife spots till March 29.

A notification issued by MK Yadava, additional chief conservator of forest (wildlife) said the decision to shut the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden in Guwahati was as part of a notification issued by Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi in view of the spread of the virus in some parts of the country.

The fear about possible infection of the virus through foreign tourists visiting Assam gripped the state after a tourist from the US, who visited Assam's tourist spots between February 22 and March 2 was tested positive of Coronavirus in neighbouring Bhutan. More than 400 people including those in a five star hotel in Guwahati, a resort in Jorhat and a luxury river cruise on the Brahmaputra river, who came in contact with him were quarantined but none tested positive of the virus.

Nagaland stops ILP

Nagaland government stopped issuing permits to both domestic and foreign tourists under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in order to prevent spread of the virus. Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh had also decided the same earlier.

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