COVID-19: Preventing community spread is primary task, says CM Biren

The number of COVID-19 positive cases among incoming returnees in Manipur is increasing

In view of the rising number of COVID-19 positive cases among incoming returnees in Manipur, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on Friday stated that the primary task of the government is to prevent community spread of the virus at any cost.

Speaking to the media at CM secretariat, he said that the government is well aware of how the evacuation of Manipuris will lead to the rise in positive cases. As such, the government is well prepared and has taken up all necessary, precautionary and preventive measures to combat the deadly disease, he stated.

Biren informed that the government has also decided to put up returnees who travel together in a quarantine centre instead of sending every returnee to quarantine centres of respective assembly constituencies.

This way even if there has been spread of the virus during travel, further spread in other quarantine centres may be avoided, said the chief minister while pointing out that they will be quarantined for a minimum of 4-5 days before testing. Once they are tested negative, they will undergo home quarantine and in case there is no possibility of home quarantine, they can undergo quarantine at the respective centres, he added.

Highlighting the preparedness of the government, the chief minister intimated that testing capacity in the laboratories at RIMS and JNIMS has been increased to above 200-300 per day. A total of 700-800 samples are being collected every day with the increase in the number of freezers to keep the samples, he said.

He also informed that the accommodation of COVID-19 isolation wards at the two hospitals have also been doubled to 100 each. Besides, 770 quarantine centres altogether have been opened so far in the state, he said and clarified that the government cannot install COVID-19 testing centres at Mao or Jiribam by flouting the protocols of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and health ministry. Out of five testing centres set up in the entire Northeast, two are in Manipur at JNIMS and RIMS, he added.

Further stressing on the need to prevent community spread, he lauded the people for strictly adhering to the advisories and guidelines issued by the union health ministry, ICMR and state government. He mentioned that the key measures to fight the disease are maintaining social distancing, staying at home, wearing face masks, use of hand sanitisers, avoiding mass gatherings etc.

He urged the people to obey the precautionary measures laid down by WHO, health ministry, medical experts etc. for our own safety.

Acknowledging the efforts made by the frontline workers, local volunteers, CVOs in the fight against COVID-19, the chief minister assured that the government will provide due compensation to the local volunteers, truck drivers, handymen etc in case of any unfortunate incident as per the norms laid by the government of India.

During the occasion, Korean Manipuri Association donated 1000 Seegene’s AllplexTM 2019-nCoV Assay kits worth about Rs 40 lakhs.

This testing kit known as Seegene’s AllplexTM 2019-nCoV Assay is approved by ICMR, NIV Pune, FDA & CE-IVD. The Tata Trusts also donated 3000 PPEs and 18,000 surgical masks to the chief minister. Later, the CM handed over the testing kits, PPEs and masks to the officials of JNIMS and RIMS.

Health and family welfare minister, L Jayantakumar; CAF&PD minister,  Karam Shyam; education minister, Th Radheshyam were also present during the press conference.

First Published:May 23, 2020, 10:23 a.m.

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