Shillong, Apr 21: Meghalaya Youth Congress President Richard Mrong Marak, on Tuesday, urged the government to conduct more tests and said that the state requires more testing centres for COVID-19.
“Since the cases are increasing, we urge the government to significantly expand and enhance COVID19 testing to help identify cases early and stop the spread of the virus. We have 12 active cases so far. More tests are required. We need more testing centres in Meghalaya,” he said.
He said that the need of the hour was to expand testing for priority groups most at risk to being exposed to the virus; including hospital inpatients, long-term care residents, healthcare workers, first responders, frontline personnel, volunteers and vulnerable populations
Richard also suggested establishing a user friendly online portal to share same-day testing results. “Only increased testing will help give a clearer picture of the situation on ground, risk areas and how best to mitigate the situation on ground,” he added.
“We need more testing centres equipped, testing kits, mobile testing facilities. We especially need a testing centre in Garo Hills too. And better collection techniques from the door to door collection teams as has been pointed out in the papers,” he said.
Meghalaya Youth Congress President also urged the government to spread more awareness about the virus since there is a stigma being associated with COVID19 in the minds of the people.
According to Richard, terms like social distancing are outdated and misleading as “we are socially engaged be it through various media. Instead it should be replaced by physical distancing with the necessary precautions.”
He also claimed that hiding the names of positive patients will only heighten the paranoia that has already seeped in to the psyche of the people and said, “It is only through transparency and community engagement that stigmatization and misconceptions can be cleared.”
Regarding the issue of bringing back Meghalaya citizens stranded outside the state he said, “Firstly, the government should chalk out a plan and work out all the logistics involved. Then, work in tandem with the respective state governments to make arrangements for their travel to the state.”
“In the meanwhile, make arrangements to quarantine them in every district so that when they return they can be quarantined for at least a minimum for 30 days or more in their home district without going home and unnecessarily putting others at risk,” he said.
Richard added that everyone must be tested in view of the reported cases of infected COVID-19 patients being asymptomatic. “Only after getting a clean bill of health from the authorities should they be allowed to return to their respective homes,” he said.
Further he said that the government must ensure there is no instance of discrimination. “It should be equal to everyone,” he stressed.