57 tested for coronavirus in Assam, all results negative: Himanta Biswa Sarma

57 tested for coronavirus in Assam, all results negative: Himanta Biswa Sarma
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GUWAHATI | March 21, 2020:

The Assam government has so far tested 57 samples for novel coronavirus and all tested negative, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

The tests have been conducted at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) accredited laboratories in government hospitals in Guwahati, Lahowal and Jorhat.

We are also in the process of setting up two more testing laboratories at Tezpur and Barpeta. The ICMR is very careful about giving accreditation as it has to ensure that infection does not spread from testing swabs, Sarma told a press conference here.

The minister said so far 16,508 people have been screened at different airports of the state and preliminary screenings were conducted for 62, 870 people were conducted in different places, including hospitals, homes and railway stations across the state.

Out of these, 1,003 have been advised home quarantine while 41 of them displaying symptoms have been kept in the isolation units of different medical colleges and hospitals, Sarma said.

The mandatory home quarantine of 164 people has been completed and they have not developed any symptoms, he added.

Assam is still in stage one of the disease as it is not homegrown and is likely to spread through people having a travel history and the period till April 5 is very crucial as people working or studying outside the state are still returning, he said.

Strict social distancing has to be maintained and we have to be very careful for the next 14 days, the minister added.

Stamping of people who have been home quarantined for 14 days after coming from outside will begin from Sunday.

The state government has passed a directive that from Saturday in all government offices only 50 per cent of the employees will come for work and the remaining 50 per cent will work from home for three days.

The head of the organisation will work out the rotation roster but it must be ensured that at a given time, not more than fifty per cent people will be at work, Sarma said.

All examinations from the class to the University level have been postponed after March 31 and any institution violating this will be dealt with firmly, the minister warned.

The Epidemic Act is in force and the health department has the authority to implement it. All institutions have to follow these instructions, he added.

All market places in towns and cities are being assessed and we will take a call after 48 hours whether we will bring in regulations or close down these places, he said.

Shopping malls and market complexes have been directed not to allow more than 50 people at a time while other commercial establishments will have to take a call depending on the size of their establishments.


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