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Majuli district admin urges foreign tourists to get health check-up done

By Staff Correspondent

JORHAT, March 8 - In view of the global corona virus scare and the US tourist who visited Jorhat and also Majuli briefly last month and tested positive for COVID 19 in Bhutan on Friday, the district administration of the Brahmaputra river island here has urged all foreign tourists visting the island to get health check-up done.

Majuli Deputy Commissioner Bikram Kairi told The Assam Tribune that the US tourist with the surname Hewitt had disembarked at Majuli on February 25 and had watched a private Bhaona function for two hours before leaving.

The Deputy Commissioner said that there was no record of Hewitt�s contact with any person during the brief stay.

Kairi said that the district administration as part of precautionary measures undertaken to prevent spread of coronavirus in the island, all foreign tourists visting Majuli have been urged to visit the hospital and health centres in order to avail medical screening facilities.

He said the administration has directed all hotels, lodges and home-stay facilities to inform the foreign tourists to get their health check-up done at the island�s hospitals and health centres in order to get screened and prevent any possible spread of the COVID 19 virus.

The Deputy Commissioner said that all necessary steps were taken by the health department to treat any person found to be affected by coronavirus. Further, awareness drives too were initiated about maintaing hygiene and sanitation by the people across the Brahmaputra island to prevent getting affected by the virus.

He said a control room has been opened by the district administration to keep a watch on the situation.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the Jorhat district administration quarantined for seven days, i.e., from Saturday, the crew and passengers of luxury cruise ship MV Mahabahu which was anchored at Nimatighat on Friday night. Five employees of the resort where the US tourist had spent a night before leaving Jorhat on the cruise ship, were isolated.

The district administration has curbed the tourists and crew members of the vessel from disembarking during the said period of stay.

The action comes in the wake of the American tourist testing positive for COVID 19 in Bhutan on Friday after he halted a night on February 22 here and travelled through Jorhat to Guwahati on MV Mahabahu on February 23.

Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni A Korati while addressing mediapersons here on Saturday evening said that all the 56 persons (22 foreign tourists and 34 crew members) on board have been kept isolated on the ship.

She said that a medical team from JMCH comprising eight microbiologists, one epidemiologist, one WHO doctor from Dibrugarh and para-medical staff were taken on a boat on Saturday to the ship which has been docked at a sapori (sandbar) in the Brahmaputra near Nimatighat.

Korati said that the team after carrying out thermo-scanning and other necessary tests found no sign of coronavirus infection.

However, the DC said that the team collected a throat swab of a crew member after he volunteered the information that he had suffered from slight fever last night.

An elderly foreign tourist suffering from heart ailment was shifted to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital�s Isolation Ward along with her daughter-in-law and a paramedic of the ship for better care and necessary treatment. Korati informed that since Friday night the district administration after identifying the five staff who came in contact with Hewitt were kept isolated at the Thengal Manor resort near Titabor. Fortunately, tests on them too proved negative.

�Now, as the 14-day incubation period of the virus has passed and all were found to be asymptomatic, no one else were swabbed, but are under watch. Replying to a query, the DC said that efforts were on to trace the taxi drivers who had brought Hewitt to the Thengal Manor from the airport and again dropped him at Nimatighat the following day.

Korati said that the Government was also tracking all the co-passengers of Hewitt who had travelled with him on the ship back to Guwahati and those who had travelled by the same plane.

Urging people not to panic, she said the district administration had taken all precautionary measures, including holding of awareness programmes and cancellation of Holi congregations.

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