JORHAT, April 3 - Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today indicated that the government will not be extending the lockdown beyond April 14 and that alternative measures are being explored. Speaking to media-persons, after visiting Jorhat Medical College and Hospital here, Sarma said that government is not thinking of extending the lockdown period, but is thinking of taking certain alternative measures to prevent large gathering of people.
Sarma said that on Thursday Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the State governments to consult persons like doctors, intellectuals, social workers, etc., to decide on steps that could be taken as alternative to lockdown.
He said that extending the closure of educational institutes, reducing the number of people visiting offices by announcing that no transfer and posting will be done till COVID-19 threat is on as then naturally there will be no rush. He said about 50 per cent of people who visit government offices across Assam come for getting transfer or postings.
Keeping cinema halls, beauty parlours, libraries, weekly haats/bazaars closed for some more time could be the possible alternatives to imposing lockdown to minimise movement and gathering of people.
He added that not organising social functions, extending the closure time of shops in order to ensure that there is no rush of customers are some other steps to avoid gatherings.
The Minister said that construction of a new 50-bed ICU facility is under way at JMCH and is nearing completion with only installation of oxygen pipeline remaining. This facility will be a modern one in the third floor of JMCH.
Another 12 beds will be added to the existing ICU of JMCH, Sarma added.