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Coronavirus: Assam shuts down schools, malls, gyms till March 29; no confirmed cases, says official

Passengers undergo a thermal screening test in the wake of novel coronavirus scare at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, Monday, March 9, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Assam government on Sunday shut down all educational institutions, cinema halls, multiplexes, gyms and swimming pools besides suspending school annual exams “with immediate effect” up to March 29 to prevent the possibility of the outbreak of COVID-19.

The order followed the quarantining of two “symptomatic” men who returned from Kerala and the rescue of a couple from Switzerland who locals presumed to be infected with the virus.

Also read: Theatres in Kerala to be shut down until March 16, film releases postponed Bengaluru malls, pubs, theatres closed for a week from March 14

“There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Assam so far. But all schools, colleges, cinema halls, gyms, swimming polls will remain closed till March 29 as a precautionary measure. All exams except those of CBSE and SEBA (State Board) have been postponed too,” Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said.

In some districts such as Sivasagar, the authorities have banned all functions including spiritual gatherings and periodic convergence at the namghars, Vaishnavite prayer halls.

Mr. Krishna said 10,605 people have been surveyed so far while 599 others who came in contact with COVID-19 have been identified and kept under home surveillance. The samples of five symptomatic cases among them were found to be negative.

Those under home surveillance include a doctor couple in western Assam’s Barpeta who returned from Saudi Arabia a few days ago. Officials in Guwahati also made one person who returned after a tour of Italy, Germany and France on March 1, check into the isolation ward of a government-run hospital. The man was complaining of fever, cough, diarrhoea and body aches since March 6.

A resident of Sootea in northern Assam suspected of being infected was on Sunday shifted to the Tezpur Medical College and Hospital. He complained of respiratory problems and fever after returning from Kerala on Saturday.

He had been admitted to a government-run hospital in Biswanath district east of Tezpur soon after reaching home. “He is under observation. We are not in a position to update his health status now,” a doctor said.

Another Kerala-returned man from Raha in central Assam’s Nagaon was admitted to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital on suspicion of being infected with the virus. He had allegedly escaped from the Guwahati railway station without proper health check-up.

On Saturday, a couple from Switzerland put western Assam’s Dhubri town on the edge as people suspected them to be infected. Locals almost came to blows with the priests of the Jogamaya Temple, on the banks of the Brahmaputra, for letting out a room to them in an adjoining ashram.

“We had a tough time explaining to the people that foreigners do not necessarily come to spread the virus. We managed to rescue the couple and had them checked by a medical team to restore normalcy,” a police officer said.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 3:03:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-assam-shuts-schools-cancels-exams-till-march-29/article31074035.ece

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