GUWAHATI: On the eve of the arrival of a special train in the state from Delhi, the Assam government on Tuesday said every single passenger would be sent to 14 days’ mandatory institutional quarantine.
“From tomorrow (Wednesday), people stranded outside will start arriving by trains. Everyone, whoever he or she may be, will have to undergo 14 days quarantine,” the state’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists.
He said the persons would be lodged in schools, colleges, Anganwadi centres etc. He had a video conference with all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police on Tuesday where they discussed issues such as quarantine facilities, sanitation etc.
“The toilets in schools and colleges are not regularly used. So, we have asked the Public Health Engineering Department to build toilet blocks and make arrangements for drinking water. The facilities will not match the status of the middle class,” Sarma made it clear.
He said there would be three tiers of quarantine facilities. People will be quarantined at government hospitals, places in district headquarters and assembly constituencies.
The MLAs will help the Health Department. The DMs and the SPs are preparing themselves to ensure that everyone arriving is quarantined in government facilities, he said.
“After 14 days, people will move from institutional quarantine to home quarantine. Village chiefs, VDPs (village development parties), ASHAs (accredited social health activists) and panchayats will monitor home quarantine. Nobody will be allowed to venture out in the society, not even the family members of people being quarantined,” the Minister said.
He disclosed that after visiting 10,000 villages over the past few days, the health officials detected 7,782 people suffering from fever. They are not patients of COVID-19 but according to protocol, the government has to examine each one of them, Sarma said.
He said swab samples of only those people showing symptoms for the disease would be collected and tested.
Last week, the Health Department had launched the “Community Surveillance Programme” to try and detect unreported cases of severe acute respiratory infections and influenza-like illness and treat symptomatic minor flu cases. The department wants to cover all villages in the state. Sarma said 20,000 more villages were yet to be covered as a part of the programme.