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Northeast: 200 stranded returnees reveal Bangladesh’s alarming covid19 situation

It’s a homecoming like never before. Stranded in neighbouring Bangladesh due to Coronavirus induced lockdown, 235-odd Indian citizens, essentially residents of Northeast India states, crossed over to India on Thursday. Among those who returned home, 129 persons are residents of Tripura.

Overjoyed at being finally able to set foot on India, one of those who came back said, “I went to Bangladesh on March 11 last. I was hoping to get back soon once my work was done but unfortunately, Covid-19 began to spread its tentacles and all possible routes which could help us come back were closed down. Finally, after 3 months of 18 days, I could come back home.”
However, what raises eyebrows is the level of screening at the exit point. “Situation in Bangladesh is pretty serious.

Today, I feel happy and secure that I have been rescued by my government. As far as screening is concerned, I saw thermal screening for the first time today at the borders. In Bangladesh so far have never seen anything like this.”

Incidentally, three gates have been opened in the Northeast region today in order to bring back stranded Indian citizens. These include the Akahaura check post in Tripura, Sutarkandi check post in Assam and Dawki check post in Meghalaya of Northeast.

Also read: Assam: In Dehing Patkai, coal mining is a way of life

Speaking to INSIDENE, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das said, “Today more than 200 stranded Indians are being brought back to India through three integrated check posts located in the Indo-Bangla border in north eastern region. Those who have come back today from these check posts are residents of Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. All of the Northeast returnees will undergo Covid-19 tests mandatorily as per protocol and then put on quarantine for further safety.”

West Tripura MP Pratima Bhwomik, who was there at the check post to welcome the returnees from Tripura, said, “The entire system is running swiftly and smoothly. Ample precautionary measures have been taken to wipe out even a little chance of infection. All front line workers present here have wearing PPE kits. Issues pertaining to proper sanitization and hygiene are also being taken care of.”

Explaining the protocols, she said, “For those who are coming from hotspot areas, 100 per cent testing will be done. And, since they are coming from Bangladesh which is right now considered to be one of the worst hit countries, we shall take no chances. Swab samples of all 129 persons will be collected and all of them will be put on institutional quarantine for 7 days.”
While 200 people from the region have been able to comeback, there are still many others who are spending sleepless nights in Bangladesh, waiting for their turn to return home.

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