Guwahati, March 26, 2020:
Earlier today, with the entire nation in lockdown to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus, a lone Russian tourist could be seen wandering the streets of a desolate-looking Guwahati bereft of its hustle. Upon seeing the authorities, the tourist herself asked where she could get a cheaper accommodation to stay. The tourist, braving the curfew, sat at a bus stoppage, as the city dwellers kept to their homes at the behest of the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
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Ironically, Amina (for that is the young lady’s name) sat right in front of a Zubeen Garg grafitti saying “politics nokoriba bondhu” (don’t do politics, my friend), a remnant of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Oh how the times have changed! From CAA, the public’s focus has shifted to the coronavirus. However, apprehensions against foreigners remain. Whereas, earlier, the apprehension was against illegal encroachers from Bangladesh, now the suspicion equally falls on firangis — not as potential settlers, but as potential coronavirus carriers.
Amina’s roaming of the streets, when it came to light, created a situation of panic among the locals, for suspicions have risen ever since several cases of tourists carrying the contagion to India from abroad have been reported. Moreover, her brazen roaming of the streets comes as a shocker amid reports of police baton charging those defying the rules of the lockdown. Assam has already seen its first arrest in relation to such violations, one could be facing upto two years in jail for venturing forth without a ‘curfew pass’.
Assam, in fact, had had its closest shave with the virus when an American tourist, whose name has been disclosed by the authorities simply as ‘Hewitt’, passed through Guwahati and Jorhat, carrying the virus. Later, he as well as his partner Sandra, who are both from the US, were declared as POSITIVE by the health officials of the neighboring country, Bhutan.
Now, back to Amina’s story. it came to light that the Russian Girl named Amina, 34, had come to Assam with a friend. 3 months ago, long before the COVID-19 landed on our shores, the duo had arrived in India and had been staying at Gokarna. They came to Assam 5 days back, and were staying at Guwahati’s Paltan Bazar area, which has close proximity to both a bus-terminal and a railway station. Amina has said that she had been staying at the Hotel Nandan and was on the lookout for cheaper places to stay when she came to the notice of the local authorities, who have quarantined her.
“The Russian girl was found roaming around on the road and she is supposed to keep herself confined for quarantine purpose. She has been kept at a hotel, where she will be quarantined for a few days. We have contacted the Embassy as of now”, says Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta, while talking to Inside Northeast.
It needs mention here that Russia has perhaps been a bit slow in gauging the extent of the threat posed by the COVID-19. The country has so far recorded 3 deaths from infections of the virus strand, which is perhaps reasonable considering how expansive the northern nation is. Perhaps that is the reason why the Vin Diesel-starring action film, ‘Bloodshot’, has seen an extended release in Russia where it raked in some considerable moolah, with cinemas across the world observing a shutdown.
Meanwhile, the virus continues to wreak havoc across the world, with 492,056 cases reported so far, and 22,175 dead. Italy continues to bear the brunt of the corona, with 7,503 deaths reported so far.
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