High-Level review meet held to discuss COVID-19

Shillong, May 14: Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma and leaders from the government and opposition held a high-level review meeting on Thursday to discuss the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

According to a joint statement issued by the leaders, Chief Secretary M S Rao made a detailed presentation on updates following the last meeting held on 25th April, 2020.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Health Minister A L Hek, Home Minister L. Rymbui, Power Minister James Sangma, MLAs H Shangphlaing, Zenith Sangma, Ampareen Lyngdoh, M Syiem and other senior officials from the Health and Family Welfare Department, Food and Civil Supplies, Finance Department and other key departments were present at the meeting.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary informed that a total of 3978 stranded residents of the state were brought back till May 13th, via 5 designated entry points, Bajengdoba in North Garo Hills, Byrnihat in Ri Bhoi, Ratacherra in East Jaintia Hills, Tikrikilla in West Garo Hills and Mir Jhumla, South West Garo Hills.

“All incoming individuals will have to be under home quarantine, along with families, for a period of 14 days.The Government has made arrangements for support and follow-up for individuals and families under quarantine. A total of 1861 free provision kits were distributed till 13th May, 2020 for all individuals under mandatory home quarantine. Besides this, a total of 2653 home visits were made for enforcing quarantine,” the statement revealed.

Further, it was informed that a separate web link in the Meghalaya Government portal was created to register stranded citizens outside North East. “So far, over 9400 individuals have registered and 7100 individuals are expected to return,” it read, adding that elaborate transportation arrangements have been made to bring back people stranded in other states.

Meanwhile, the government informed that there has been significant increase in testing capacity and as of 13th May, 2020, a total of 2537 tests were conducted wherein 2526 tests were declared negative.

“The total positive cases were 13 and the number of active cases stands at 1 as per 13th May, 2020. Within the next two weeks, the capacity is expected to increase to 600 tests per day,” the statement read.

The Chief Secretary in his presentation said that the State now had 3227 beds available. Adequate stock of health equipment is now available across the State – PPEs (1,53,213), 3 Ply Masks (6,30,300), N95 Masks (1,48,678), Ventilators (20) etc.

It was also informed that various suggestions were made by opposition leaders which were welcomed by the government.

The leaders jointly urged citizens not to stigmatise persons who have contracted the virus. They also asked people to accept the returning individuals and not stigmatise against them or their families.

“Over the course of the coming days, many more individuals will be returning. The Government protocols on guidelines are to be strictly followed. Support of community COVID management committee is needed to enforce quarantine,” it read.

They also appealed to citizens not to be fearful of the virus and to follow the standard protocols relating to personal hygiene, hand washing, cough etiquette and social distancing and to be respectful and kind to all the health care staff and other frontline workers.

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