Two of Assam’s biggest hospitals will remain shut until 10 May after a doctor in one facility tested positive for Covid-19 and a 16-year-old girl, who stayed at the residential quarters of another, died of the illness Thursday night.
The Assam government has quarantined 386 people from the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) after a postgraduate student there tested positive for Covid-19. Those quarantined include the superintendent of GMCH, doctors, nursing staff and other officials.
The infected doctor was on Covid-19 screening duty from 4 May and was wearing a full PPE kit, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. But he had been showing symptoms since 28 April and was part of a workshop on 30 April.
Sarma also took to Twitter Friday to announce the hospital’s closure.
A PG student at Guwahti Medical College has tested COVID positive last night. Consequently we have to screen everyone who came in contact with him and sanitize the entire GMCH premises. As such we have to close the hospital for new patients for next few days.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 8, 2020
Meanwhile, the B. Borooah Cancer Institute, the lone full-fledged cancer institute in the Northeastern region, was also ordered closed until Sunday.
A teenaged girl had tested positive for Covid-19 after her death Thursday night. She lived in the residential colony of the hospital where her grandmother works as support staff.
Activist held for Facebook post
Zamser Ali, the Assam coordinator for Citizens for Justice and Peace, has been arrested for an allegedly defamatory post on Facebook in which he had reportedly raised his voice against “communal” statements made by college teacher Rupa Rani Bhuyan.
Bhuyan, who teaches at the Mangaldai College in Assam’s Darrang district, had courted controversy by uploading a post on her Facebook page in which she allegedly made derogatory comments against litterateur and Padma Bhushan awardee Syed Abdul Malik. She had posted a few stanzas of a 1941 poem by Malik and reportedly called it a glorification of the Mughals. The poem is considered to be an ode to Assam, its composite culture and people.
Social activist Teesta Setalvad took to Twitter Thursday to condemn Ali’s arrest.
— Teesta Setalvad (@TeestaSetalvad) May 7, 2020
DD and AIR to bring classrooms home in Meghalaya
Around 2.5 lakh students, many of whom live in rural areas of Meghalaya and whose access to mobile network is limited, will now get virtual classes via Doordarshan and All India Radio. These classes will cover the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBoSE) curriculum for primary, middle and high school students.
State Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui tweeted about the initiative Friday.
EDN.Dept Meghalaya signed MoU for digitally Transmit lessons to Students through DDK & AIR daily during closure period. Lessons designed by Edn.Dept as per MBOSE Curriculum. Also broadcasted in Airtel ch.399 and local cable. Students may also tune in AIR TURA, SHILLONG,JOWAI pic.twitter.com/sJT0M0yoH4
— Lahkmen Rymbui (@LahkmenR) May 8, 2020
Liquor price up by 25% in Assam, Meghalaya
A hike of 25 per cent has been imposed on liquor prices by the governments of Assam and Meghalaya. The revised prices took effect from Friday midnight.
The increase has been implemented “to generate additional excise revenue” to meet expenditures arising out of Covid-19, said a tweet from the official handle of the Chief Minister’s Office, Meghalaya.
A hike of 25 % on the maximum retail price for liquor has been approved by the Government effective from midnight of 8th May, 2020 in order to generate additional Excise revenue to meet the unexpected financial burden/expenditure arising out of #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/Tx01HrNjCf
— CMO Meghalaya (@CMO_Meghalaya) May 8, 2020
Assam and Meghalaya aren’t the only states increasing liquor prices. While Delhi has levied a hike of 70 per cent, Andhra Pradesh has hiked it by 75 per cent. In West Bengal, the price was increased by 30 per cent while in Rajasthan, alcohol became costlier by 10 per cent.
Mizoram village donates 500 kg rice to poor
Residents of Vahai, a village in south Mizoram’s Siaha district, about 100 km from the district headquarters of Siaha and 400 km from Aizawl, have been giving up some of their quota of free food supplies so that others don’t go hungry. Mizoram’s food, civil supplies and consumer affairs director, Lalhriatzuali Ralte, said that families, especially those with more than five members, do not take their whole share of supplies.
Instead, each household has donated around 60 kg of rice each to the village-level task force, which, in turn, distributed it among the poor. In all, around 500 kg of rice has been donated by the residents from their free share.
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