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COVID-19: Guwahati gears up for the worst

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 22 - Being the gateway to the Northeast, Guwahati is preparing for the worst-case scenario that may arise out of the coronavirus outbreak, a senior health department official said.

�We are motivating our doctors and other medical staff to face any kind of eventuality in the coming days. The medical staff will also have to ensure their own safety while treating COVID-19 patients. We are now playing a test match rather than a T-20,� he said while talking to The Assam Tribune on their preparedness to fight the deadly virus.

He was of the opinion that in order to stop the spread of the virus, there is a need to lockdown the city for five to six days.

�The situation may become more complex than we could imagine. Despite our best efforts, we may have some inadequacies, which would be known only after we receive the first positive case. We may face challenges in quarantining persons showing COVID-19 symptoms if their number increases rapidly,� he said.

It is noteworthy that the health authorities of both Kamrup and Kamrup Metro districts have joined hands to deal with any possible medical emergency. At present, both the districts have prepared 250 isolation beds at the Sonapur District Civil Hospital, Central Hospital of Northeast Frontier Railway, Guwahati Refinery Hospital and Singimari Model Hospital at Hajo.

Quarantine beds will also be arranged at ESIC Model Hospital and Red Cross Hospital.

Twelve beds were also kept aside at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital for isolation of COVID-19 patients.

Moreover, the Health department has also arranged three to four beds in every private hospital located in and around the city for this purpose.

�For isolation, we have around 75 beds. We will even requisition hotel rooms if the need arises. Currently, we have 500 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits in stock,� he said.

According to the official, if the disease spreads in the city then there may be a shortage of PPE kits, which would pose a challenge to the health workers. The problem may arise as most of the states where PPE kits are manufactured are now under lockdown.

�We may also face shortage of sanitisers and masks as demands of these items have soared manifold globally. At present, we are managing with old stocks. Hope new stocks will arrive soon,� he added.

Around 15 persons are under quarantine in the city but no positive case has been detected yet. There is a possibility of detection of positive cases as a few special trains will arrive here from different parts of the country in the next few days.

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