Guwahati: Medics wear masks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (PTI)
The Assam government on Friday sounded a high alert to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus after the reports emerged that an American citizen, who visited the state before flying to Bhutan, has tested positive for coronavirus.
Bhutan on Friday confirmed that the 76-year-old tourist from the United States had a travel history to India. He had come to Bhutan on March 2 from Guwahati, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering's office said in a statement.
The Assam government has now initiated steps to track the travel itinerary of the US national and his partner, who came in contact during their stay in the state. The officials are particularly finding out details of a seven-day Brahmaputra river cruise which they took before leaving to Bhutan, official sources said.
The patient's partner, eight Indians and other passengers who travelled to Bhutan on the same flight have been quarantined by officials in Assam.
"We are aware of the development, and we have already alerted all districts, we would be trying to check and quarantine each and every individual who came in contact during his stay in Assam. Till now there has been no Covid-19 positive case in the state," principal secretary of Assam health department Samir Sinha told NDTV.
According to sources in the Airport Authorities of India (AAI), the US national reached Assam on an Indigo flight on February 22.
From February 23 to February 29, he was on a river cruise on the Brahmaputra on MV Mahabaahu, a cruise-liner. On March 1, he was in a Guwahati hotel before taking a flight to Paro International Airport in Bhutan, sources added.
"After completion of every cruise, our entire vessel is properly fumigated. Now the cruise is sailing with another group. We have a paramedic on board. Till now none of the crew members or the tourists onboard have shown any symptoms of coronavirus. Tomorrow, Assam health department team of doctors will check the crew members and tourists onboard at Jorhat," said Sanjay Basu of Far Horizon, the operator that maintains the river cruise service.