COVID-19: ‘It’s the best time to bring back stranded Meghalaya Citizens’

“We do now; we don’t mess up; we don’t lose precious time and, of course, don’t lose precious life.”

Shillong, Apr 19: Meghalaya Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma, on Sunday, pointed that bringing back persons stranded outside state during the lockdown might be more beneficial than after it is lifted.

He said that a comprehensively planned evacuation would ensure that students, migrant workers from the state are not left vulnerable to COVID-19.

“What is the other option? What happens after the lockdown is lifted? Will they not return after lockdown is lifted – very likely, in an unplanned way; many won’t even inform,” he questioned.

“Everybody will be freely mingling then; picnicking & partying; after all, with long period of lockdown, people are likely to be tempted to indulge in all kinds of socialising. What happens when they’re brought with a properly and comprehensively prepared plan? You know who is being brought and evacuated based on who wants to come back and who doesn’t,” he argued.

He said that those who want to come back will be compulsorily screened. “Only people with no symptom are allowed to return. People with symptoms will have tests and follow up treatment in the state where they are,” he said.

Dr Mukul Sangma said that a comprehensive evacuation plan can ensure they are brought to a dedicated accommodation and kept in quarantine. He added that 14 days quarantine is not enough and quarantine period should not be less than 28 days.

Upon arrival, the individuals can be subjected to proper medical screening and collection of personal history of nature of work, daily activities, and travel history during last 40 days.

He said that this will enable to identify and classify vulnerable, more vulnerable, and, groups who are not likely to be vulnerable.

“Then they are TESTED in order of vulnerability and all should be TESTED on arrival and TEST before even allowing them to leave the quarantine centres,” he stressed.

Dr Sangma said that there is no certainty as to when the lockdown will be lifted and added “it will surely be determined by the graph – if graph flattens, then hopefully then there will be likely openings or partial lifting.”

“Then what happens? If our children are left out, they will land up coming in overcrowded train and become more vulnerable. Even if then they are brought, same stringent measures including measures for quarantine and testing will have to be done,” he said.

Further, he claimed that many of the stranded migrant workers and students are having mental depression, parents and family members are suffering from anxiety.

“What will be the sequel when people are under prolonged anxiety & mental stress- it’s a recipe for many critical ailments like hypertension, diabetes, acute psychological disorder, etc, besides suppression of immune system of a person and resultant vulnerability to disease,” he said.

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