The Tripura government has issued a notice saying it has decided to shut down all border haats with Bangladesh as part of the precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus, reported The Telegraph India. Tripura has two border haats with Bangladesh at Kamalasagar in Sephaijala district and Srinagar in South Tripura, while three more haats are said to yet be put up.
The memo issued by the health and family welfare department especially mentioned that to contain the chain of infection from Bangladesh immigrants, the land customs and BSF authorities must issue a directive to all their staff to unfailingly follow hygiene protocols.
“For the time being, immigrants with a suspected case history and suffering from any respiratory symptoms should be assessed properly before their entry into our state. Moreover, all border haats may be closed for the time being in consultation with Bangladesh authorities,” the memo read.
It also advised against being a part of mass gatherings in any form till the containment of the outbreak. “All citizens are requested to restrict mass gatherings to avoid severe acute respiratory illness (SAR) case and influenza-like illness, including Covid-19. In case a gathering cannot be avoided, the organiser should ensure precautionary material, according to the directives sent out to all concerned. This restriction may continue until further orders,” the memo said.
The department has also directed all district magistrates and collectors to ensure regular sanitization and take out awareness generation drives at all bus / truck terminuses, movies halls and shopping malls.
“Setting up help desks at Dharmanagar railway station of North district/inter-state bus terminus may be ensured for awareness generation and self-reporting by travellers. Besides, periodical review of the situation may also be made through district surveillance unit meetings,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum added that the district health officials ensure that quarantine places are kept secure and more such places are identified to accommodate the ill. Tripura health and family welfare director Radha Debbarma said a Bangladeshi national was sent back from Agartala-Akhaura international checkpost (CIP) after a medical helpdesk screened him with high body temperature during the thermal scanner check-up for coronavirus.
“Not a single person has been infected with the virus in Tripura. We have recently identified 28 people who have a recent visit history to coronavirus-affected countries. Nineteen of them have been cleared. Others haven’t shown any symptoms but are still under self-observation,” the health and family welfare director said.
This clarification from the minister came after rumours of an Indian citizen being denied entry into Bangladesh after thermal scanners picked up high temperatures on him.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus or Covid 19 to be a pandemic. Places of religious gatherings such as temples, mosques and churches that can be clusters for the transmission of the virus, especially in a populated country like India should be on high alert.
ISKCON, one of the popular Hindu religious organizations has reportedly advised devotees from abroad to postpone their travel for the next two months.
The Srinagar Municipal Corporation has also passed a resolution to restrict public gatherings in Srinagar and close schools and coaching centres in view of the coronavirus transmission threat.
Theatres in Kerala are under lockdown until March 31. Chief Minister Pinarayi VIjayan has announced that public gatherings must be avoided at all costs. Educational institutes have been shut for the rest of the month and all public functions are said to be cancelled. Kerala has seen the highest confirmed cases of Covid-19 in India.
Among the major events called off are the IIFA awards and FDCI’s India Fashion week. Apart from this, the Gurugram Marathon, HasyaKavi Sammelan, Ultra Music Festival and Delhi Literature Festival among other events, have either been cancelled or postponed in the capital. Tech summits by Amazon and other tech giants too stand cancelled post the virus scare.
Union Health Minister has urged local leaders to discourage large gatherings in public spaces. He told the Rajya Sabha that screening was currently underway in 30 airports across India and 15 labs have been set up to test for the virus. The centre said that no community transmission of the virus has been observed and there have only been cases of local transmission up until now.
Most countries, including India have imposed visa curbs to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and has also closed the border with Myanmar after South Asia reported a rise in cases. The current number of cases in India is pegged at 73.