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‘No Covid-19 cases in north-eastern region yet’

By IANS Updated: Mar 16, 2020 10:46 pm
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Thermal screening of passengers being conducted in the wake of deadly coronavirus, at Guwahati Railway Station on Monday. (PTI)

Agartala, Guwahati/Shillong, March 16 (IANS/PTI): No positive coronavirus (Covid-19) case has surfaced in the eight northeastern states so far, Tripura Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar said on Monday referring to various government reports.

Kumar said that though no positive case has been found in the north-eastern region till now, utmost alertness is being maintained and a close vigil is being kept at the bordering areas of the region to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Chief Secretary said that all educational institutions, swimming polls, anganwadi centres, cinema halls and gymnasiums would remain closed in Tripura until March 31.

“Cooked food is being supplied by the anganwadi centres under the Special Nutrition Programme (SNP) to the homes for the children, pregnant women and lactating mothers without any disruption,” Kumar told the media after a review meeting chaired by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

The Chief Secretary also said that despite the issuance of two advisories, public gatherings are being held in the state. “The District Magistrates have been instructed to issue appropriate orders under Section 144 of the CrPC to restrict gathering of people to prevent the spread of the dreaded Covid-19,” he said.

M’laya, Tripura educational institutions closed till March 31

The Meghalaya government has ordered shutdown of schools and colleges and cancellation or postponement of major sports events till March 31 to avoid mass gatherings in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak, a senior minister said.

The order will be effective from Tuesday, he said.

Health Minister A L Hek made the announcement in a suo-motu statement in the Assembly during the Budget Session on Monday.

“All educational institutions within the state are to remain closed except for holding of examinations,” Hek said.

Mentioning that the decision was taken considering the confirmed infection cases gradually rising in the country, the health minister said, enforcing social distancing was a must to reduce virus transmission.

People have been asked not to visit places with high footfall such as cinemas, gymnasiums, swimming pools and avoid non-essential travel during the period, he said.

Organisers of fairs and festivals have been advised to postpone or cancel the events, the minister said.

Companies or offices with work from home option may permit employees to do so, he said.

Also, Tripura government on Monday decided to shutdown all schools, colleges, universities, cinema halls, swimming pools, gymnasiums with immediate effect till March 31.

Addressing a press meet at the civil secretariat here, Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar said all district administrations have been asked to issue prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC to avoid mass gatherings.

Board exams, however, would be held as per schedule.

The decisions was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Kumar said.

He also said hostels at educational institutes would be vacated by March 21.

All anganwadi centres would remain shut till March 31, but the facilities would dole out food parcels to toddlers, the chief secretary said.

“The government has issued an order, asking people to avoid mass gatherings, public meetings and unnecessary travel to foreign countries till April 15,” he stated.

Assam govt. asks offices to stop using biometric attendance systems

The Assam government on Monday asked all offices and institutes to stop using fingerprint-based attendance systems, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The directive shall remain in force till March 31 and during this period, attendance should be marked manually in the office registers, a notification issued by the state’s health and family welfare department said.

Any other biometric attendance system which does not involve physical contact such as face recognition, can continue to be in force, it said.

The state government also capped the number of daily visitors to the Janata Bhawan complex or the state secretariat to 100 till March 31.

“Mass gatherings and movement of daily visitors from various places will be restricted to a minimum level in the Janata Bhawan complex,” an official release said.

Issuing of all kinds of passes, including vehicle entry passes, has also been stopped with immediate effect, it said.

The secretariat administration department will issue passes only in urgent cases on receipt of request in advance, the release added.

Meanwhile, as a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus in Assam, the Kamakhya Temple – a Tantrik Shaktipeeth – here has started providing visitors with hand sanitisers and decided to temporarily stop the daily ‘bhog’ (food offering) from Tuesday.

The temple of Maa Kamakhya or Kameshwari is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths across the country and it attracts a large number of devotees every day.

As per government recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus, Temple Doloi (head) Kabindra Prasad Sarma on Monday said the temple administration was providing the devotees with hand sanitiser at the entry and exit points of the mandir premises.

The temple authorities have urged the health department to set up a health camp in the temple premises to create awareness about Covid-19, he said.

Help desks have also been set up for the convenience of foreign tourists, temple administration officials said.

By IANS Updated: Mar 16, 2020 10:46:24 pm
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