400 quarantined in Assam for coming in contact with US tourist who tested positive for COVID-19

Guwahati, Mar 8 (PTI) At least 400 people in Assam have been quarantined after they came in contact with an American tourist who tested positive for the new coronavirus in Bhutan after travelling through the state recently, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.

In a series of tweets, Sarma said tests for five persons have been done so far and results have come negative.

'State Health Dept has traced more than 400 contacts in different places including MV Mahabahu (cruise ship) and resorts where he stayed. Teams of doctors and microbiologists have been keeping a close watch on these people who have been quarantined,' he tweeted.

A 76-year-old American tourist tested positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan, the first such case in the country, after travelling through Assam recently.

On Saturday, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika said the river cruise ship MV Mahabahu, on which the US tourist had travelled from Guwahati on Brahmaputra has been quarantined at a distance away from docking Neamatighat in Jorhat district.

According to the management of the hotel, where the US national had stayed on March 1 before taking a flight to Paro International Airport in Bhutan the next day, the second floor of the building with 18 rooms was sealed and sanitised.

Sarma said the health department has taken all possible measures to combat the virus.

'In the aftermath of an American tourist declared positive for coronavirus while in Bhutan, state health officials have swung into action,' he added.

'So far, 5 tests done and all are negative. Even partner of American tourist is reported to be negative. Appeal to all in #Assam not to panic and observe all protocols including personal hygiene. With your cooperation, we will safely sail through these turbulent times,' Sarma said. PTI TR RG ABH ABH