Coronavirus outbreak: 'No need to panic, all measures taken,' assures Assam govt as US tourist tests positive in Bhutan after visiting state

The Assam government on Saturday asked people not to panic in the wake of a US tourist testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Bhutan after leaving the state, saying 'special measures' were taken at the places where he had visited

Press Trust of India March 07, 2020 22:25:57 IST
Coronavirus outbreak: 'No need to panic, all measures taken,' assures Assam govt as US tourist tests positive in Bhutan after visiting state
  • The second floor of the hotel in Guwahati where a 76-year-old US tourist, who tested positive for coronavirus in Bhutan, had stayed during his visit to Assam has been sealed, the state govt said

  • The 127 people who came in contact with the American have been identified and kept under surveillance,' Assam health minister Pijush Hazarika said

  • The river cruise ship MV Mahabahu on which the US tourist had travelled from Guwahati has been quarantined and medical teams are examining passengers and crew members of the ship

Guwahati: The Assam government on Saturday asked people not to panic in the wake of a US tourist testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Bhutan after leaving the state, saying "special measures" were taken at the places where he had visited.

No person has tested positive for the coronavirus in Assam and the state government has put in place stringent screening procedures, Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika said.

"There is no need to panic as the US tourist had tested positive three days after leaving Assam. Wherever he had travelled in Assam, we have taken special measures in those places," he told a press conference.

Coronavirus outbreak No need to panic all measures taken assures Assam govt as US tourist tests positive in Bhutan after visiting state

A medic official uses thermal screeing device on a passenger in the wake of deadly coronavirus, at an airport in Dibrugarh, Assam. PTI

The second floor of the hotel in Guwahati where the 76-year-old man had stayed was sealed and a medical team sent to Neamatighat in Jorhat district which he had visited, the minister said.

"The 127 people who came in contact with the American have been identified and kept under surveillance," he said.

The river cruise ship MV Mahabahu on which the US tourist had travelled from Guwahati on the Brahmaputra has been quarantined at Neamatighat, he said.

Medical teams are examining passengers and crew members of the ship, the Jorhat district administration said, while the ship's operator claimed that the entire vessel has been properly fumigated.

The authorities of the hotel where the US tourist had stayed on 1 March said the second floor with 18 rooms was sealed as per the protocol received from the Assam government, and the room and floor sanitised.

The staff of the hotel, who came in close contact with the American, have been identified and kept in isolation and under observation.

The employees of a Jorjhat resort where he had stayed as part of the river cruise, and drivers of buses in which he had travelled were also examined by medical teams and kept under observation, district officials said.

The Bhutan government on Friday announced that a US tourist tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Himalayan country's first reported case since the outbreak of the disease in China.

Eight Indian passengers who travelled with the American on a plane from Guwahati to Paro have been quarantined and it is closely working with the Indian Embassy on the matter, the Bhutan government said.

An Italian has also been kept under observation at a hotel in Tezpur in Sonipur district on suspicion that he has been infected by the novel coronavirus and his condition was stated to be fine, Hazarika said.

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Hojai district officials said two local persons, who had returned from their travel to Bangkok, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, were kept in isolation for observation.

Urging people not to panic but be careful, the minister said surveillance teams were deployed by the Assam government in all the airports in the state and set up isolation wards in various hospitals.

Private hospitals across the state were also asked to set up similar facilities, he said adding that special ambulances and health care teams have been kept in readiness at the airports.

"We are checking passengers for fever as soon as they alight from an aircraft. We have told all the airlines' authorities to inform us about any passenger with fever or showing signs of the virus attack so that we can isolate them and provide medical treatment," Hazarika said.

So far 585 passengers have been screened at the state's seven airports. Of them, 112 are Indians coming from abroad and they are under observation, the minister said.

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