Brief tension after coronavirus screening suspended

Correspondent IMPHAL, Oct 1 | Publish Date: 10/1/2020 12:40:16 PM IST

A brief tension ensued at Manipur-Assam border gate at Jiribam on Thursday after Manipur police restricted people from entering the state following suspension of the corona virus screening at the inter-state entry point.

The tension however subsided after thermal screening resumed in the forenoon.

Reports said that the corona virus screening booth at Jiribam gate of Manipur was suspended after COVID-19 outsourced staff members of the state health department ceased to discharge their duties.

The outsourced staff members started a 10-day cease-work strike from Thursday, demanding immediate disbursement of their monthly honorarium for months.

Marking the commencement of the strike, the outsourced staff members locked down the thermal screening booth at the border gate, forcing commuters from Assam side to be stranded.

Police on duty at the border check post prevented all commuters including individuals on private vehicles from entering the state in the absence of medical clearance by the outsourced staff members of the health department after thermal screening. As the COVID-19 SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) issued by the Manipur government, it was compulsory to screen all people entering the state.

The police however allowed inter-state truckers to proceed as they were screened by the police personnel using infrared thermal thermometers.

With the number of vehicles and commuters arriving at the entry point increasing and the screening booth remained closed, tensions brewed. Stranded commuters engaged in a heated exchange with police personnel on duty as they failed to get satisfactory reply for being prevented from entering Manipur.

Chief medical officer (CMO) of Jiribam district who arrived along with some staff of the health department to the spot also failed to convince the angry commuters. The CMO later ordered breaking of padlock in screening booth and started screening the commuters which included officials and labourers of the companies engaged in the railway project. After normalcy returned at the inter-state entry point around 11 am, a total of 124 commuters were screened for the day, an official report here said.

Corona virus screening of people entering the state at different entry points including at Imphal Airport has started since the start of spreading the pandemic in the country.

Manipur started screening at all the five entry points of the state including Indo-Myanmar border gates since the first week of January this year as precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the virus. Screening is being done at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal, Mao in Senapati, Behiang in Churachandpur, Moreh in Tengnoupal and Jiri Gate at Jiribam sub-division of the district. 

Unable to meet the required manpower needed at screening booths, state health department outsourced staff members to assist the health staff deputed to screen person entering the state from affected regions.

A total of 3,86,699 people, including truckers, have been screened till today (October 1), as per an official source in the state health department.

Though maximum numbers of people were at Moa Gate (bordering Nagaland) and Imphal airport, a total of 44,437 commuters and truckers were screened at Jiribam gate, the health department added.

A total of 1,29,799 people were screened at Mao gate and 1,55,621 at Imphal airport till 4 pm today (October 1).

On the other hand, 128 new confirmed cases have pushed the COVID-19 tally to 11,111, out of which only 2402 were active cases as recovered cases rose to 8641.  

The recovered cases during the last 24 hours included 181 patients.  The state’s recovery rate stood at 77.76% on Thursday.

The death toll also rose to 68 after one patient died in the last 24 hours.

Of the total 11,111 infections, 2315 were personnel of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), a report of the health department said.


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