Mnp seeks chartered flights for stranded citizens

Mnp seeks chartered flights for stranded citizens
Manipur health minister L Jayentakumar addressing a press conference in Imphal on Thursday.
Correspondent IMPHAL, Apr 30 | Publish Date: 4/30/2020 9:58:31 AM IST

Manipur government has sought permission to operate chartered flights to bring back people from the state stranded in other states owing to COVID-19 lockdown.

“We are seeking help from  ministry of civil aviation and ministry of home affairs to give permission for chartered flights to bring back state citizens stranded in different parts of the country to their home,” state health minister L Jayentakumar told reporters on Thursday.

The minister’s statement came barely a day after Union ministry of home affairs issued a fresh guideline for inter-state movement to allow stranded migrant labourers, tourists and students to return to their respective home.

However, as per the guideline which will be effective from May 4 will allow movement only through road using buses while adhering to social distancing, hygiene and sanitation and no mention have been made of operation of flights for the purpose.

Addressing a press conference, the minister hoped that the Centre will agree to the state’s proposal considering hardships being faced by people of the state stranded in various states.

Manipur government has estimated return of 30,000 to 50,000 state people stranded at various cities and towns of the country once the lockdown is lifted.

At the same time, state government had already sent four buses to bring back 84 state people stranded at Manipur Bhavan, Guwahati to Imphal on Wednesday.

It was the first step of the state government to bring back stranded state people to the state, the minister said. 

He said that the government took the steps to bring back Manipuri people stranded outside the state due to the lockdown. 

Asserting that all people returning the state would be strictly screened and examined at various stages on their arrival, the minister added that returnees from Guwahati would be screened at Mao Gate as an initial step.

After doing so, they will be sent to quarantine centres being opened at various places in Imphal where they will be kept for a day for further examination. 

They will then be put under quarantine at for 14 days which is mandatory as per government COVID-19 guidelines. 

The persons will either be quarantined at home or at the institutional quarantine centres dependingon decisions made by health experts.

Local people should not have any social stigmas against the persons who are returning home since they have not been classified as infected by the virus, the minister asserted. 

The health minister said that the state government, particularly health department is putting its best effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. 

The state government is also keeping in touch with the Union ministry of health for suggestions and help in taking up necessary steps to check spread of the pandemic in the state. 

There were two COVID-19 positive cases in the state. They have recovered and discharged from the hospitals where they were treated after testing negative as per COVID-19 protocol. 

“This doesn’t mean that we are totally free from the disease and we need to be more careful in the coming days,” the health minister said.

The minister also highlighted the facilities available related to COVID-19 at different district hospitals including RIMS and JNIMS hospitals.


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