GUWAHATI, June 16 - In order to check the spread of COVID-19 in the city, the health and family welfare department (H&FW) will start a swab collection drive among the employees and labourers working at truck parking places, godowns and weigh bridges from Wednesday.
The drive will be held as part of a targeted surveillance drive named Assam Targeted Surveillance Programme (ATSP), launched by the department.
It is noteworthy that employees offering duty at truck parking places, godowns, weigh bridges, etc., are now at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19 as they frequently come in contact with truck drivers and handymen coming from outside the State.
According to a source, at present, Guwahati has around 46 large truck parking places, around 156 godowns and several weigh bridges and most of those are located along the stretch of the national highway from Jalukbari to Khanapara.
Also, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 from truck drivers and handymen, the district administration at a meeting held recently, had issued a charter of guidelines to the owners of the truck parking places, godowns and weigh bridges. Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner Biswajit Pegu had clearly stated that violation of the same would attract penalty under the Disaster Management Act.
In the charter of guidelines, the administration instructed all employees working at such entities to strictly maintain social distancing norms and not to come into direct contact with the drivers and handymen of trucks coming from other states. The guidelines also made keeping a record of all such trucks mandatory.
Significantly, as a precautionary step, the administration instructed all owners of parking places and godowns to provide food and accommodation to the drivers and handymen coming from other states, so that they do not have to come out of the premises of the parking places or godowns under any circumstances.
According to the order issued by the H&FW department, the ATSP will also cover staff of the district administration, health, police and transport departments, staff of hotels used as institutional quarantine facilities and family members of persons released from institutional quarantine. Under the drive, the department will collect around 50,000 swabs within June 27 across the State.