Hailakandi: Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli appealed to the people to stay at home as minimising contact is the best way to check the spread of COVID-19, novel Coronavirus. Addressing a press conference at her office conference hall here on Wednesday evening, Jalli said, “People must stay at home to minimise contact and should step out only to buy essentials and medicine. As the disease is spreading fast and it is difficult to say which way we are heading towards, the best thing we can do to contain the disease is to shun gatherings and that is possible only if we remain indoors, “ said Jalli, adding, “The next two weeks are very crucial as the disease is on stage 2 level. We have reached the stage where Italy was two weeks back and the US three weeks ago.”
Terming the situation as ‘difficult times’, the Deputy Commissioner urged the people not to panic but to remain calm as the administration is constantly monitoring the situation with health authorities and taking a slew of initiatives to prevent the spread of the disease. She appealed to the people to pray at home and not to assemble at religious places and to keep all sorts of celebrations and festivities on hold.
Jalli said there is no case of Coronavirus in the district so far and that the two cases - one pertaining to Mohonpur and the other that of Baruncherra - have no symptoms of the disease at all. “The person, who was coming from Bengaluru to Hailakandi by train and intercepted at Badarpur railway station, was declared to have no symptoms of Coronavirus by Silchar Medical College and Hospital authorities and discharged will be quarantined at home for some time,” she added.
Underscoring the need to maintain safe distances to minimize the risk of infection, Jalli said, “Although three deaths have occurred in India and that of persons aged 60 and above, and that Assam, or for that matter, the North East region as a whole is free from Coronavirus till date, the situation may change anytime as ‘the dangers are lurking everywhere and you do not know where it will strike next.”
She said the administration is keeping a close eye on people coming from Bengaluru and Chennai following closure of malls, multiplexes and restaurants and even asked the hotel owners and the Goan Panchayat secretaries to report the arrival of any visitor from outside to the nearest health centre or police station.
The Deputy Commissioner said a five-bedded separate isolation ward has been opened at the civil hospital together with formation of rapid response team for surveillance and monitoring and a 24x7 control room.
She said the administration has been generating awareness on Coronavirus right from the circle level to block level and down to the Goan Panchayat level and holding sensitization meetings with leading citizens, people’s representatives, religious leaders, hotel owners, drug dealers and merchant association.
“Police personnel and health workers have been trained up by the health department to cope up with the situation and employees of different departments are also being sensitized. DDMA has been geared up to deal with any exigency,” she quipped. Screening of passengers travelling by night buses and trains have been going on in the district, she said.
Jalli said cleanliness drive has been intensified in market places with cleaning of roads, drains and river to ensure hygienic conditions. She urged the parents to keep a watch on their children as they are carriers of the virus. “Children have not been affected by Coronavirus owing to strong immune system but they are carriers of the virus as they play around and literally touch every object,” said Jalli.
Following reports of dearth of mask and hand sanitizer in the district, Jalli said people need not have to resort to panic buying of mask in bulk as the virus is not air-borne and thrives only in wet surfaces and that ‘basic soap can be used to wash hands in 40 seconds of running water to keep the disease at bay’. In the same breathe, she warned those creating artificial scarcity of mask and hand sanitizer and hiking the prices as these items now have come under the Essential Commodities Act. “Anyone found hoarding these items and creating artificial scarcity will be dealt with severely and put behind bars,” she warned.
Seeking cooperation from the media in scotching rumours and misinformation, Jalli requested them to verify the facts from the administration before filing any story. She asked the local mediapersons to report on any incident of mass gatherings, public meetings, festivals, celebrations, congregations taking place across the district as the administration has banned all such activities to avoid gatherings keeping in view people’s health amid growing concerns of Coronavirus. The mediapersons, in turn, assured the Deputy Commissioner of their help in disseminating correct information relating to Coronavirus and the steps being initiated by the administration to contain the disease. Additional Deputy Commissioner, in charge of Health, EL Faihraem and District Information and Public Relations Officer cum District Nodal Officer, Sabir Nishat were present during the press conference.