GUWAHATI: To prevent mass gatherings amidst the Covid-19 scare, the authorities in Assam postponed the first-ever Kaziranga Utsav scheduled to take place from March 12-15 even as the state government appealed to people not to panic.
There is a semblance of panic among locals as a tourist from the United States, who visited places in India, including Assam, from February 21 to March 1, tested positive for Covid-19 in Bhutan.
Health officials in Assam are trying to get details about the places he visited and the people he came in contact with. The 76-year-old man, who was accompanied by his 59-year-old partner, had gone on a seven-day river cruise on the Brahmaputra, visited a “Satra” (Vaishnavite monastery) in river island Majuli and stayed at a resort in Assam’s Jorhat district and a five-star hotel in Guwahati.
On Saturday, all passengers and employees of the ship he was on were screened by health officials.
In Guwahati, the five-star hotel has submitted a list of its employees, who had come in contact with the man, to health officials. All of them will be screened. In northern Assam’s Tezpur, an Italian tourist, who checked in a hotel on Friday, has been screened by health officials. He has been kept in isolation in his hotel room. He had arrived in India more than a month ago.
The Kaziranga Utsav has been postponed indefinitely as a lot of foreign tourists were expected to attend it. Similarly, the Meghalayan Age Festival in Meghalaya has been scaled down to a conference. Only a few invitees will take part in it, an official source said.
Meanwhile, Assam’s junior Health Minister Pijush Hazarika advised people to take all precautionary measures and not panic.
“Altogether 112 people were kept in surveillance in Assam. There hasn’t been a single positive case. We are conducting surveillance at all airports and have asked the various airlines to report to us if any passenger arrives with fever,” Hazarika said.
“There is no reason to panic and we should not spread panic. We all must wash our hands with soap or hand sanitizer and refrain from touching our face, ears or eyes,” he advised.