Evacuees to be sent to CQCs only after testing

IMPHAL, 22nd May: Chief Minister N Biren Friday said that in a shift from the existing practice of screening and testing the returnees, all the evacuees will be kept in some designated quarantine centres and sent to the community quarantine centres in their respective assembly constituency only after testing.
Addressing media persons at his bungalow here on Friday, the CM said that several state natives are remaining stranded in different parts of the country amid the nationwide lockdown while facing various hardships and the government is taking up every possible steps to bring them back. The central government is also taking up similar initiatives to bring back stranded Indians from foreign soils.
Acknowledging the efforts made by the frontline workers, local volunteers, CSOs in the fight against COVID-19, he assured that the government will provide same compensation to volunteers of CSOs, local clubs who are contributing their services in the quarantine centres as those of the frontline warriors in case of any unfortunate incident, as per the norms laid by the Government of India. He appealed to his cabinet colleagues, MLAs, DCs and CSOs to spread awareness about the preventive measures to fight the virus.
The evacuation operation was initiated with a calculated risk despite knowing that the process will definitely increase the number of infected persons in the state. As such, the state government is taking up all necessary precautionary measures to combat the deadly disease. The Chief Minister informed that the primary task ahead is to prevent community spread of the disease in the State. He maintained that the government welcomes all positive and constructive criticisms and suggestions to chalk out plans to combat the disease in the State.
Since the evacuees are allowed to board trains or leave the states where they were staying after screening to check possible symptoms, sending them to community quarantine centres in their respective assembly constituency without testing is fraught with risk of spread in the quarantine centres. Considering the risk factor, the state consultative committee on COVID-19 discussed the situation and decided to bring certain changes to minimise the risk, he said.
From now on, the evacuees will be kept at different facilities as per their categories like place of origin and date of arrival from where their swab samples will be collected for testing. Those with negative results will be sent for home quarantine. However, people with no proper space for home quarantine can opt to stay in the community quarantine centres in their respective assembly constituencies. There are reports of some evacuees with negative test results being rebuked by the local residents when they reached home. As per guidelines issued by WHO and ICMR, those with negative test results can stay under home quarantine and there is no need to panic in the locality, he said while urging all to follow the guidelines issued by experts.
As the evacuation operation is continuing, the total confirmed cases of the state have reached 26. But all the cases are imported ones and there is no community spread in the state till date, he explained. Appreciating the people of the state for strictly adhering to the advisories and guidelines issued by the union health ministry, ICMR, WHO and state government, he said that the key measures to fight the disease are maintaining social distancing, staying at home, wearing face masks, using hand sanitisers, avoiding mass gatherings. At the same time, the state government is taking up all necessary measures to prevent community spread. On the brighter side, the country has a fatality rate of only 3 per cent against recovery rate of 45 per cent, he pointed out.
Biren also said that the government is open to suggestions from the public in order to face the crisis efficiently. Making unreasonable criticism in a negative way will only make the public panicky. Number of tests in the laboratories at RIMS and JNIMS has been increased from 200-300 per day to 800-900. Number of freezers to keep the swab samples has also been enhanced. Beds in isolation wards of both RIMS and JNIMS have also been doubled to 100 each. Regarding the suggestion of installing testing facility at Mao and Jiribam, he said that the government cannot install such facilities by flouting the protocols of ICMR and health ministry.
He further said that domestic flight service is set to resume from May 25 and stranded state natives will start arriving through the Imphal airport. As such, the government is all set to take up the same stringent measures at the airport to ensure testing of all the passengers before sending them to home or community quarantine.
Meanwhile, Korean Manipuri Association donated 1000 number of testing kits worth about Rs 40 lakh. The testing kit known as Seegene's AllplexTM 2019-nCoV Assay is approved by ICMR, NIV Pune, FDA & CE-IVD. The Tata Trusts also donated 3000 PPE suits and 18,000 surgical masks to the chief minister. Later, Biren handed over the testing kits, PPE suits and masks to the officials of JNIMS and RIMS.
Health and family welfare minister L Jayantakumar Singh, CAF&PD minister Karam Shyam, education minister Th Radheshyam, and MLAs Th Satyabrata and H Dingo were also present at the press conference.

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