GUWAHATI, March 24 - State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the State, in its effort to prepare for COVID 19 outbreak, is trying to make 20,000 isolation beds available.
Addressing the State Legislative Assembly here today, Sarma said that the month of April and May would be a challenging one for the State since it is also the time when cases of Japanese Encephalitis, which has higher mortality rate.
He further informed that along with the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital and Sonapur civil hospital, the State Government has also decided to turn Singimari hospital into a set-up dedicated to Corona.
Till date, all the 169 samples that have been tested for COVID 19 from the State have been found to be negative.
The Health Minister while laying special onus on a private-public partnership to deal with the health emergency, informed that the Government�s flagship scheme � Atal-Amrit Health Card � which earlier covered five major ailments, will now cover all the diseases.
�It is difficult to preempt the impact lockdown would have on our economy. We are faced with a situation where the future seems to be uncertain. We need to rise to the occasion in this moment of crisis, cutting across party lines,� the Minister said, asserting that the complexion of State budget may undergo major change following lockdown.
�I have no answer as to what would happen if the lockdown period gets extended,� Sarma said.
�As far as providing financial assistance to the low income groups or daily wage earners is concerned, we do not have an extensive mechanism in place. The State Government could access bank accounts of around 40 lakh people including daily wage earners and members of the low income groups who have been covered under schemes like Ujala which could be used for the it,� the Minister said.
The Minister also informed that as promised in the budget, free rice would be distributed from April.
Meanwhile, the members of the State Legislative Assembly have decided to donate one-month salary to the Government to help it fight novel coronavirus.
On people from Assam who are left stranded in other States of the country, the Health Minister said, � We hope that the respective State Government take responsibility of those people like we have done to facilitate people from other States.�