Manipur Chief Minister N Biren on Tuesday appealed to the people of the state to stay at home to prevent the spread of Novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in the state as one positive case, the first in Northeast India, was reported in the state.
A 23-year-old woman with a travel history to UK tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, making it the first case in the Northeast. The patient, a resident of Imphal West, has been put under isolation ward at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) hospital, Imphal.
Expressing his concerns and disappointment at the response of the people to the calls of the government to combat the pandemic, the CM posted a video on Facebook seeking cooperation from the people to be more responsible in fighting against the coronavirus outbreak.
“We all know what Coronavirus or COVID-19 is and how it can be prevented. We ourselves need to be sincere, we are being negligent even after knowing the deadly virus, please do not do this,” Biren said in the video.
The CM said that staying indoors is the only way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while appealing to the people to adhere health safety measures.
“The only way to prevent COVID-19 is home stay or staying indoors. Manipur has initiated health safety measures well in advance. Since January 18 the state has initiated preventive before other states in the country initiated health safety measures…,” Biren said, adding, “There is no other steps better than ‘social distancing’. Only through this the transmission of the virus can be prevented.”
Biren said what is unfortunate is people not taking the health safety measures seriously.
“Even after a lockdown was imposed in the state yesterday (Monday) many were seen on the road. Hence, we had to imposed curfew to restrict the movements. Even after curfew was imposed, many are venturing out to check the curfew. Don’t go out to see curfew, don’t go out in groups to buy essential commodities. Please avoid gathering in groups, maintain three feet distance even while buying essential items,” the CM appealed.
“I’m more concerned as many, knowingly or unknowingly, ignore the preventives measures. Please I appeal all to adhere to the instructions given by the government. Let us save our community. Let’s stay at home at least for these 5-10 days. Schools, offices have been closed. The government has announced that rice under National Food Security Act (NFSA) will be made available to the beneficiaries free of cost for a month to ensure any section the society do not face any inconveniences during the lockdown,” Biren added.
On Monday, government spokesperson Th Biswajit also said that the food grains will also be distributed to those who have not received the NFSA cards but are Chief Ministergi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT) card holders as approved by the state cabinet.
Biren further appealed to the people coming from outside the state to disclose their travel history and get themselves tested. He also appealed to go for voluntary quarantine even if they tested negative or inform quarantine centres.
“We should be very sincere. Don’t have the stigma even if you are infected. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about being infected. Don’t be embarrassed… if you don’t disclose after being infected, the virus will be transmitted to your family, then the neighbours, the district, the state and the nation. If you have come from outside the state, disclose your travel history to the airport authority or doctors and get yourself tested voluntarily. Please go for voluntary quarantine, or inform quarantine centres. Please do not hide else if one is infected, it can be transmitted easily and infect the community,” Biren added.
Meanwhile, Health Services Director Dr K Rajo said that authorities are also tracing all others who may have come in contact with the patient. Dr Rajo added, “Anyone who come in contact with the patient are informed to contact the toll free numbers- 2411668 and 18003453818.
“All family members have been shifted to quarantine facility at UNACCO, Imphal West. Family members are reportedly healthy but are being monitored for any developing symptoms,” Dr Rajo said, adding the patient is stable.
Altogether 12 persons who came into contact with the patient have been quarantined at a facility in Imphal West district. Seven of them are immediate family members of the patient. All of them are doing fine, according to the health department.