Permission a must for also those travelling via Assam
GUWAHATI: Thousands of people from Assam are stranded in other States. When the lockdown will be withdrawn, such people will rush to the State in hordes. Since every such person has to be quarantined for 14 days, the available arrangements for quarantine in the State may be out of sync with the rush of people. To avoid such a situation, the State government is going to issue entry date-specific temporary documents in line with ILP (Inner Line Permits) to such people after the lockdown is withdrawn.
Sharing this with the media here on Monday, State Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We’re going to launch a website on Wednesday for the people of Assam staying outside to register their names and addresses. Such a registration will let us know the number of people of the State staying outside; but willing to return and the districts they hail from.”
Giving details of the modus operandi, Sarma said, “The rationale behind issuance of the entry date-specific documents for entry to the State is to prevent the rush that may outnumber our district-wise quarantine capacities.”
In the cases of people of other north-eastern States who have to travel through Assam to reach their respective home States, Sarma said, “We need to hold talks with the administrations in the neighbouring States. We’ve to issue transit passes to such people on the condition that they will go to their respective States and not stay in Assam.”
On the withdrawal of lockdown, Sarma said, “The Centre has sought suggestions from us. We, on the other hand, are seeking suggestions from intellectuals and the public in the State. As long as no medicine or vaccination for coronavirus is invented, we need to remain alert.”
On the fate of people who have been quarantined in the State, Sarma said, “Around 74,000 people have been quarantined in phase 1 across the State in their homes or in the State government’s quarantine centres. They’ll have to be released by April 9 after completion of their tests. However, for that the Deputy Commissioners will have to collect their test reports and send them to the Health Department.”
On the number of corona cases, Sarma said, “Barring one case, there has been no corona positive case in the State in the past 48 hours. Altogether 112 people have been quarantined for coming in contact with Manish Tebriwal of Guwahati. Of them, the swab samples of 98 have been collected. While 85 of them tested corona negative, the results of 13 are awaited. Samples of the remaining 14 will also be collected. However, the worrisome question is: Where did Tebriwal get infected with corona? Unless we’re sure of this, we’ve reasons to worry.”
On the returnees from Nizamuddin Markaz, the Minister said, “We’re yet to establish contact with 128 of them. We hope to establish contact with them by this evening. If not, we’ll act in accordance with the law.”
On the availability of kits for doctors and nurses, Sarma said, “We’ve 3,941 PPE (personal protection equipment) kits, 7.28 lakh triple-layered masks and 36,487 N95 masks. This is not surplus, but enough to meet the requirement.”
On the testing of samples for corona, Sarma said that the six laboratories in the State are capable enough to conduct around 5,000 tests daily.
On State government employees helping out their needy neighbours, the Minister said, “For that, one doesn’t have to go with cars and other vehicles. One can get it done within one or two km of one’s residential place. A package of rice, pulses sugar, salt etc costing Rs 600 will do for a needy family.”
In order to rope in doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff of the State staying outside in the fight against corona, Sarma said, “We’re going to launch a website for them to register their names so that they can render their services physically in Assam or through teleconferencing.”
The Minister further said that the State government has also insured the lives of the doctors and nurses with Rs 50 lakh each of private hospitals with whom the State government has signed MoUs (memorandums of understanding) for treating the general patients of the medical colleges of the State.
“Rs 2.15 crore has been released for the day-to-day maintenance of the isolation centres set up across the State,” the Minister said.