A high-level review meeting in Meghalaya was held with the participation of the Government and Opposition leaders to discuss the prevailing COVID-19 situation. The meeting consisted of Conrad Sangma. A detailed presentation was made by the Chief Secretary on the updates following the last meeting held on 25th April, 2020. The presentation highlighted the summary of stranded citizens, detailed the entry protocol. It gave an insight on the evacuation model being followed to bring back the stranded Meghalayans from various parts of the country. Updates were also presented on the status of health infrastructure as well as the testing capacity.
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The following actions of the Conrad Sangma Government were highlighted:
- As of 13th May, 2020, a total of 3978 stranded individuals were brought back into the state. The individuals were brought back via the 5 identified entry points as follows:
i. Bajengdoba, North Garo Hills
ii. Byrnihat, Ri Bhoi
iii. Ratacherra, East Jaintia Hills
iv. Tikrikilla, West Garo Hills
v. Mir Jhumla, South West Garo Hills
- The separate protocol for entry for individuals coming from North East States and individuals coming from other states has been put in place. All incoming individuals will have to be under home quarantine, along with families, for a period of 14 days.
- The Government has made arrangements for support and follow-up for individuals and families under quarantine. A total of 1861 free provision kits were distributed till 13th May, 2020 for all individuals under mandatory home quarantine. Besides this, a total of 2653 home visits were made for enforcing quarantine.
- A separate web link in the Meghalaya Government portal was created to register stranded citizens outside North East. So far, over 9400 individuals have registered and 7100 individuals are expected to return.
- Elaborate transportation arrangements have been made to bring back Meghalayans stranded in various parts of the country. Various State governments (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab among others) have been communicated with in order to devise a method to bring back citizens into the State.
- The increase in testing capacity was elaborated. As of 13th May, 2020, a total of 2537 tests were conducted wherein 2526 tests were declared negative. The total positive cases were 13 and the number of active cases stands at 1 as per 13th May, 2020. Within the next two weeks, the capacity is expected to increase to 600 tests per day.
- An updated status of health infrastructure was highlighted in the presentation. The State now had 3227 beds available Adequate stock of health equipment is now available across the State – PPEs (1,53,213), 3 Ply Masks (6,30,300), N95 Masks (1,48,678), Ventilators (20) etc.
- The largest Corona Care Centre and Quarantine facility in the North East was inaugurated recently at IIM, Umsawli. This facility has a total capacity of 258. This will accommodate the asymptomatic and the mild symptomatic individuals.
- An update on the assistance given to people under various schemes was also highlighted.
Several suggestions were made by the members of the opposition and the Conrad Sangma Government welcomed many of the suggestions.
The meeting decided to jointly urge the Citizens of the State to:
- Provide sensitive support to all COVID-19 positive individuals and those probable cases and not to stigmatize any individual as the virus can affect any person.
- Accept the returning individuals and not stigmatise against them or their families. Over the course of the coming days, many more individuals will be returning. The Government protocols on guidelines are to be strictly followed. Support of community COVID management committee is needed to enforce quarantine.
- Not to be fearful of the virus and to follow the standard protocols relating to personal hygiene, hand washing, cough etiquette and social distancing.
- As per existing data, most people affected by the virus will not need hospitalization and will recover by being under home isolation. The Government is fully prepared to deal with all cases that may need hospitalization.
- Be respectful and kind to all the health care staff and other frontline workers.
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