Renovation of UNACCO school into COVID care centre fails to meet dateline

Chief Minister N Biren Singh had announced that the diagnosis of COVID-19 positive patients will begin at the institution from Wednesday.

Construction and renovation work of UNACCO School, Meitram, in Imphal, Manipur which is to function as a COVID Care Centre is still incomplete though Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced that the diagnosis of COVID-19 positive patients will begin at the institution from Wednesday.

The announcement was made by the chief minister along with the health minister and others during a visit made on Tuesday at UNACCO school, Meitram.

Speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press, the director of state Directorate of Health Services K Rajo said that since the institute was not originally constructed as a hospital, the renovation and construction took time. Diagnosis of COVID-19 patients will start immediately if the construction and renovation work is finished, he said.

UNACCO will be treated as a special quarantine centre though it also has ventilator facilities. Rajo stated that the centre will have 100 beds for the initial stage and will be increased up to 300 beds. In the said centre, a total of 21 doctors from various specializations will be made available as per the needs of the patients.

Responding to the IFP, Rajo said that the centre is exempted from being a quarantine centre meant for keeping returnees as it is converted into a special quarantine centre where only COVID-19 positive patients will be kept.

He said, only asymptomatic patients will be admitted at the said centre and patients who show symptoms of the said disease will be referred to RIMS or JNIMS hospital for further treatment.

As the government is recruiting 300 doctors and 60 nurses, the patients will not face lack of medical staff during the pandemic, he added.

Rajo further said that the UNACCO centre has adequate numbers of toilets and patients need not worry of having a common toilet facility.

He said issues concerning lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs) have been solved after the resuming of daily flight services. Though many tailoring firms have started manufacturing PPE suits and others, the government is using only the PPEs issued from the ministry.

Regarding the various complaints issued by different inmates from different community quarantine centres, Rajo said the testing of COVID-19 is to be conducted after a period of 7-10 days. The department has been trying its level best to conduct testing in large numbers for each quarantine centre turn by turn, he informed.

Collection of test samples has been made available at various district hospitals to reduce the apprehension faced by the inmates, he said.

As the testing is conducted under a certain machine, it has a certain capacity to conduct tests, he said. If the testing capacity available in the machine is forced to be increased, the results may come inaccurate due to excess in testing. So, some problems have been faced regarding delay in testing of COVID-19, he said.

Rajo said the returnees who come by air will be screened at Bir Tikendrajit International airport and they will be carried at HRD quarantine centre. They will depart to community quarantine centres or hotels as per the demand of the individual.

When this reporter visited the UNACCO school, Meitram which has been announced to become a full functioning COVID Care Center, it was found the construction work was still undergoing and most of the rooms were empty though beds and other essential materials were kept outside unassembled. Inside the center, mechanics were fondly busy on renovation works.

Governing body of the school chairman N Irabanta told the IFP over the phone in an interaction that the government is using the school for COVID care centre for the welfare of the people. The government will take necessary steps for students of the school at the time of need so that their education is not affected, he said.

First Published:June 10, 2020, 10:22 p.m.