File photo: Himanta Biswa Sarma

The Assam government on March 27 said it will build five temporary hospitals as “forward planning” to combat COVID-19 pandemic even as till date there is no positive case detected in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati on March 27, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that several private hospitals in the state have joined hands with the government to combat the pandemic.

“Other than Cancer and Gynecology patients, whole of Gauhati Medical College will be catering to Coronavirus patients from March 28 itself… all other general patients will be diverted to private hospitals in the state,” Sarma said. He added that the private hospitals will be paid by the government for the service. A total of 34 private hospitals will share the load of patients from government hospitals.

The minister further said that five new hospitals will be constructed in different places in the state in quick time to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Tender for construction of these hospitals is being floated with a deadline in next 48 hours. The construction of the hospitals will be completed within 2 months.

“We are in talks with L&T and each hospital will cost around Rs 40-45 crores which will have a life of four years….we are getting donations from various sources including various MPs of Assam which will take care of a one hospital,” Sarma said.

The 300-bed hospitals are likely to come up in Guwahati and Dibrugarh first and then in lower Assam and Barak valley.

Sarma said that if in next seven days the state doesn’t see any positive cases, “then we can expect that the situation is getting back to normal”.

He added that till date 308 cases has been tested for Coronavirus strain in the state.

To build up adequate healthcare manpower, Sarma said 620 final year MBBS students will be trained for seven days to treat COVID-19 patients.

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