All stranded people returning to Assam will be put in mandatory institutional quarantine and later home quarantine for a mandatory 14-day period and their houses will be declared containment zones, the state government announced on Tuesday. This comes after a special train carrying stranded people reached the state on Tuesday from New Delhi. Only those who show symptoms during institutional quarantine will be tested for COVID-19 virus.
State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said this new guideline is necessary as the returnees may mix with their families or even get out of their homes and come in contact with the larger community, spreading the highly contagious coronavirus.
"To avoid this, when a person will be sent to home quarantine, his house will be declared as a containment one; no one from the family can come out unless there is a medical emergency," Mr Sarma said.
He also added that the state government has decided to turn the schools, colleges, Anganwadi centres into quarantine centres to accommodate lakhs of people who would be returning from other states. An estimated 6 lakh migrants from Assam are stuck in other states.
"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," he said.
The facilities will not match the status of the middle class, the Health Minister further added.
Mr Sarma also informed that the Community Surveillance Programme of Assam government is reaching out to 25,000 villages looking for COVID-19, flu and malaria symptoms. It has completed 10,000 villages and nearly 7,800 people have been identified who are suffering from fever.
This has also led to the state government deciding to take a very tough stand on quarantine protocol when the migrants return to the state.
Assam has 65 coronavirus cases with 2 deaths.