Speaker admits adjournment motion to discuss COVID-19

SHILLONG, Mar 16: The Meghalaya assembly on Monday took up the adjournment motion to discuss the COVID-19 which has been characterised as pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO).

The adjournment motion was initiated by Congress MLA from Ampati, Miaini D Shira, which she later withdrew.

Replying to the adjournment motion, Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma said that the state government in the past few weeks has been monitoring the situation.

“As a government there is a need to balance awareness and the need for overall order so that there is no panic,” Conrad said.

He also informed that since the end of January, the state has already received 74 students of the state who came back into Meghalaya. The Chief Minister said that all the students have completed their quarantine period but 17 of them are still under observation to assess if they have any kind of symptoms of the virus.

“We are monitoring these students and the (health) department are calling them everyday,” Conrad said.

He also informed that the state government may declare masks and sanitisers as essential commodities even as he said that six lakh sanitizers, six lakh 3 ply mask and 11 thermal scanners has been ordered.

There are reports that some traders taking advantage of the situation may try to hoard hand sanitisers and masks.

Taking part in the discussion on the adjournment motion, leader of opposition Dr Mukul Sangma said that the government should not shy away from taking drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus.

“Timely decision to put in place drastic measures is needed,” Dr Sangma said. He also said that to curb the spread of the virus social distancing is crucial.

Stating that the first thing is to prevent the virus from entering the state, the opposition leader said that the time to act is now with no positive cases of the COVID-19 being reported in Meghalaya as yet.

Dr Sangma also said that during this period the government must ensure that essential commodities are available in the market and traders do not resort to hoarding.

The Ampati MLA, Shira while initiating the discussion said that states like Assam and West Bengal has already shut educational institutions and mass gatherings even as she said that the government has to take into account first what effects it will have on the state’s economy.

She also expressed concern that the hospitals in the state may not be well-equipped to take care of persons who may test positive for the virus.

Congress MLA from Mawsynram, Himalaya Shangpliang said that the government should concentrate on giving public awareness about the virus and also set up control rooms in every district of the state.

“NEIGRIHMS may be requested to provide necessary medical support and also testing of samples. Testing centres may also be opened in every districts,” Shangpliang said.

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