Shutdown from 2pm today as positive cases surge

IMPHAL, 22nd Jul: In view of increasing COVID-19 positive cases in disorderly manner at different parts of the state since the past few days, an urgent meeting of the state cabinet convened Wednesday has decided to impose 14 days complete shutdown throughout the state with effect from 2pm Thursday
The cabinet also decided to impose curfew during the shutdown and penalise violators of COVID guidelines and protocols.
Immediately after the end of the cabinet meet, chief minister N Biren Singh told media persons that the cabinet had to be convened hurriedly to discuss the nature of COVID-19 spread in disorderly and suspicious manner at different places since the past few days.
Despite the surge of positive cases in Thoubal district and detection of positive cases among armed forces personnel in Kangpokpi district, some people seem to be unconcerned about the pandemic situation and went for picnic while auto services resumed in some districts. Fortunately, the state has no fatality till date but many people of the state seem to be least worried and fearless of the disease. Many people are loitering in public places without face mask and violating social distancing norms. As continuation of this situation would bring a dangerous phase the state cabinet took certain decision, Biren said and declared imposition of complete shutdown for seven days from 2pm Thursday.
Curfew will be imposed during the shutdown and the same would be extended, if necessary, after observing the first seven days, Biren said adding that the state cabinet also decided to impose fine to COVID-19 protocol/SOP violators.
The chief minister also announced that Rs 1000 will be charged from violators of quarantine guidelines, Rs 200 for not wearing face masks in public places, Rs 200 for violation of social distancing norms, Rs 500 for spitting in public places, Rs 200 for chewing of tobacco products like gudka, pan. If an event happens to gather more than the permitted number of attendees, Rs 10,000 will be charged from organiser/owner, Biren said and appealed people to take necessary precautionary measures, abide the guidelines and protocols issued by the government to fight against the disease.
The chief minister also said that engagement of nurses on daily wage basis for COVID duty had been in practice in the past and the state cabinet had given nod to recruit 300 doctors to make up shortage. Recruitment will be done through MPSC but the cabinet had given nod to engage 100 doctors for six months to help in the fight against COVID-19 with daily honorarium of Rs 2,500 each. He also said that the state cabinet had given approval to engage 90 nurses, 60 multi-tasking staff on daily wage basis.
The chief minister also disclosed state government’s plan to convert Trade Centre at Lamboi Khongnangkhong as COVID care centre with 300-500 beds if the existing COVID care centres happen to be overwhelmed by positive cases. Biren also said that government was compelled to take the extreme step in-spite of the suffering of the people as saving lives is important than anything else. He also appealed people not to worry over food scarcity as government will arrange as did earlier. During the 14 days shutdown, no employee except few essential officers will attend government offices and only essential services will be exempted during this period, Biren added.
Forest and Environment minister Awangbow Newmai, chief secretary Dr J Suresh Babu, principal secretary (health) V Vumlunmang and others were present during the press conference.
Four BJP ministers namely Th Biswajit, Th Radheshyam, Nemcha Kipgen and V Hangkhanlian, who returned from New Delhi on Tuesday, did not attend the cabinet meet in view of COVID-19 guideline and protocol.

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