Minister of state for health and family welfare Pijush Hazarika addressing a press conference in Guwahati on Saturday Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Assam government has identified 127 persons in the state and put them under surveillance while tracing contacts of the US tourist who tested positive for coronavirus in Bhutan, informed minister of state for health and family welfare Pijush Hazarika on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference in the city, the minister said that the 127 persons are home quarantined, and if they develop fever then they will be taken to an isolation ward.

The 76-year-old US infected patient, along with his partner, were in India for a while before heading to Bhutan. They travelled from Kolkata to Jorhat on February 22, and took a seven-night cruise by MV Mahabaahu Brahmaputra River Cruise in Assam. They reached Guwahati on March 1, stayed at Radisson Blu for a night and left via Drukair for Bhutan on March 2.

The minister informed that apart from the 127 contacts, the state has not yet been able to establish a cab which the duo took from the hotel to Guwahati Airport, which they will undertake very soon.

Meanwhile, elaborating on the plans to sanitise and cleanse places where the said gentleman and his partner had stayed, Hazarika said that in Jorhat resort, 25 staff members have been identified and kept under observation, and in Radisson Blu, Guwahati, 24 staff members have been identified. The second floor of the hotel where the duo stayed has been completely isolated and sanitised. Also, one person had stayed in the same room of the hotel after the US tourists whom the state surveillance team will visit today.

Also, the state medical team will take over the cruise once it reaches Neematighat, Jorhat on Saturday, and thoroughly sanitise it.

Also Read: Tracing Bhutan’s 1st coronavirus patient’s travel history in India

Assuring that there is no need to panic, the minister said that Assam government is taking steps for the past 1.5 months to avoid spread of COVID-19 in the state. Also, in the light of the Bhutan case, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma already held a meeting on Friday, and at 5 pm on Saturday, they will meet to review and discuss further steps to be taken if any patient is identified with the novel virus.

Currently, isolation wards have been prepared in all six medical colleges across the state and two beds in each district hospital. Also, 600 beds have been earmarked in case of mass quarantine. All medical staffs across the state are well equipped with masks, gloves and other requirement.

In the meantime, the state has screened 585 passengers across the six airports in the state of which, 112 people have come from a trip outside to countries like China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai and Singapore. Of these, eight developed fever a few days later and samples were taken. Currently, seven have tested negative, while the report for one passenger will be received later on Saturday.

Also, taking the edge off the issue of shortage of sanitisers and masks, the minister informed that the government is taking adequate steps to ensure availability of masks and sanitisers for the public, and there is no reason for panic.

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