Regional

NE faced with quarantine challenge

Guwahati/Aizawl, May 27 (IANS) | Publish Date: 5/27/2020 10:14:16 AM IST

After a huge surge in COVID-19 cases in the northeastern states, specially in Assam, caused by the return of around 1,00,000 people from other states, the region is facing a very big quarantine challenge.

While the Assam government sought Rs 300 crore from the World Bank to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic effectively, 168 churches in Mizoram offered their halls to be used for quarantine facility as the state is facing a shortage of quarantine centres.

With the return of around 1,00,000 people, coronavirus infections surged heavily in the northeastern states, mainly in Assam and Tripura.

109 fresh corona patients were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total count to 704 on Wednesday afternoon in Assam while neighbouring Tripura’s total count climbed to 232 with 34 new cases.

Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in Guwahati that the government expected to get Rs 300 crore from the World Bank to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic effectively. He said that of the Rs 300 crore, 80 per cent is a grant and the remaining 20 per cent a loan.

The Assam government has launched the “Ruthless Quarantine, With Big Heart” scheme to check the spread of coronavirus, under which suspected patients must remain in 7-day institutional and 7-day home quarantine.

The government will spend Rs 13,000 per head for 14 days. “Around one lakh people in Assam have to be in quarantine. We do not have sufficient funds for the effective quarantine of the possible number of people, that’s why we negotiated with the World Bank for the financial assistance,” the minister told the media.

In Mizoram, Church leader Esther Lal Ruatkimi said that the state government and churches have so far arranged more than 500 quarantine facilities to accommodate 14,400 people but the state government requires quarantine facilities for at least 20,000 people.

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo on Tuesday reviewed the status and availability of government quarantine facilities in view of the arrival of stranded residents of Mizoram from other parts of the country, which is expected to peak in the next few days.

The Chief Secretary stressed the importance of strict home quarantine in the absence of institutional quarantine. With the return of hundreds and thousands of people from southern and western India during the past three weeks, the COVID-19 patients have also increased in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur, besides Assam and Tripura.

Nagaland Health Minister S. Pangnyu Phom on Wednesday tweeted that five more returnees from Chennai tested COVID-19 positive. “With this, we have nine active cases in Nagaland. They all are undergoing proper medical treatment at COVID-19 hospitals,” the minister said.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said that five more persons, who have returned from Delhi and Haryana recently, tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya, taking the total number of cases in the state to 20 with 7 active. Twelve persons have recovered from coronavirus while one person, a veteran doctor, had died.

In Manipur, three more persons tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of cases in the state to 39, with 35 active cases. Health officials in Imphal said all the people, tested COVID-19 positive, returned to the state during the past three weeks from different parts of India, mostly the southern and western regions of the country.

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