As we battle the deadly virus, Assam has made Covid-19 testing mandatory on arrival for all train passengers to keep citizens safe. All boundaries of recklessness were crossed in an act fuelled by paranoia when around 400 train passengers who arrived at a railway station in Assam forcefully made their way out of the premises in order to avoid being tested for COVID-19.
A video of the incident reported by NDTV shows people rushing out of the railway station as the police and officials look on. The incident — which brought to light people’s carelessness and authorities’ leniency — took place at the Jagi Road railway station, around 60 kilometres from Guwahati. The concerned authorities could hold back only a handful of those who had disembarked at Jagi Road.
The passengers were mostly migrant workers, which also included women and children. Stretched over a period of five days, the workers had travelled by the Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Vivek Express. The journey had started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and been through Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
The event felt like a déjà vu moment as a similar incident took place in Bihar last month. Back then, dozens of people rushed out of a railway station in Buxar fearing Covid testing. Some of these people even had young children with them. At a time when social distancing, personal hygiene and masking have become as crucial as oxygen, such behaviour is not only appalling but also life threatening.
Nearly 6,000 fresh Covid cases were reported in Assam on May 23, taking its overall figure of infections to over 3.65 lakh. It also registered nearly 80 deaths due to the coronavirus infections, taking the state’s overall fatalities to a total of 2,667.