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Assam�s response far better than Italy�s, says returnee student

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, March 29 - It was around February 22-23, that Lopamudra � then in Lecco, about 40 minutes train ride from Milan � heard reports that there could be a possible lockdown in Italy. Her institute � Architectural Engineering at Politechnico di Milano � rescheduled its reopening which was slated for February 24, and launched online classes, prompting Lopamudra to return to Assam on February 29.

By February 29, the death toll in COVID-19 in Italy was 29, with the number of active cases pegging at 1,049. Boasting of a high doctor ratio, Italy, which today has the highest number of COVID-19 death cases, had reported its first novel coronavirus positive case on January 30.

�But as we left for the airport, there were no signs of any restrictions, forget about lockdown. Of course, there were lesser crowds at Milan which is normally teeming with people and many were wearing masks. But trains, buses were running normally, restaurants and hotels were open, and business was as usual. There were no signs of any sanitisation initiatives,� Lopamudra, who completed her quarantine and regular screenings after returning, told The Assam Tribune.

She had boarded a flight for New Delhi via Poland on February 29 along with a friend who hails from Indore. They were subjected to the only medical screening of any type at the airport in Poland.

After spending the night at a hotel near the New Delhi airport, she reached Dibrugarh airport in the afternoon of March 2 and it was then that her screening for any possible symptoms started. Even at Delhi airport, the girls were not screened.

At Dibrugarh airport, however, she was made to fill up a form with all details, including mobile phone number, and within a short time of reaching home, the office of the joint director, health department, called her up and asked her to remain in home quarantine for 14 days.

�The precautions didn�t stop there, as a team of two ASHA workers and a nurse visited my residence the same evening to check my health parameters. The team came over for routine screening for any possible symptoms every day during the quarantine period. Me and my family maintained utmost caution,� she exclaimed.

Her mother Mrinali Saikia informed that after Lopamudra reached home from the airport, she had been staying at her separate room upstairs taking all possible precautionary measures and did not come out of the residence compound.

As the girl completed one month of her departure from Italy � where the death toll has now surpassed 10,000 � and has remained healthy, her mother today applauded the efforts of the State government to ensure safety of her daughter as well as all citizens.

�We don�t have a positive case in Assam as yet. But seeing the war-footing preparedness of the authorities here from a month ago, I want to express my gratitude to our administration, each health department worker, each security personnel, each and everyone who have been working day and night to fight this unseen enemy,� she wrote in a social media post.

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