Norm violation bogs in Assam and Tripura
Violation of Covid-19-induced lockdown guidelines is being reported from across Assam.
The norm of social distancing was reportedly torn to shreds in Dhemaji where hundreds of youths were seen waiting for an interview for a few posts of cleaners for a quarantine centre. In Mangaldoi, police collected a fine of Rs 40,000 on Friday from people violating lockdown norms like wearing face masks.
A video of a mentally challenged person wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) kit and roaming near Sarusajai Sports Complex, which has been turned into a quarantine facility, has gone viral, raising questions about whether the health department is disposing PPE kits as per norms. The PPE kit was reportedly dumped into a dustbin. “The health minister has ordered an inquiry into how the PPE kit reached a dustbin,” BJP MLA Numal Momin, a retired doctor, told the media, adding that there there are specific guidelines to dispose of PPE kits.
One Ramesh Kunta from Rajasthan, reportedly fled from a facility at Sarbhog in lower Assam’s Barpeta district, where he had been quarantined on April 22 for 28 days, on Friday morning.
Amid these incidents, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the Covid-19 challenge is likely to become tougher. “But no one should panic or become frustrated. Even if the number of positive cases increases, if we maintain social distancing and hygiene and help each other, society will be safe,” he said. He added that people should not worry about the number of Covid cases but “face the situation with patience”. Sources said Dispur on Friday suggested that the Centre allow it to run offices with 50 per cent employees and open malls with 50 per cent shops open.
Tripura law minister Ratan Lal Nath on Friday said his government was planning to set up “quarantine jail” in the state for persons found violating the norms of home quarantine. A final decision is, however, yet to be taken.
He told reporters on Friday that a meeting chaired by chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb was held late on Thursday to discuss plans to tackle the Covid-19 situation. It was attended by deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Verma, chief secretary Manoj Kumar, additional chief secretary (health) S.K. Rakesh and other officials. The meeting considered a “quarantine jail” for norm violators but a final decision will be taken by the state cabinet, Nath said.
Earlier, Deb had tweeted that home quarantine violators may have to undergo upto six months’ imprisonment.
Additional reporting by Tanmoy Chakraborty in Agartala
Dr G.K. Medhi, professor and head of department of community medicine at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong, who is visiting the state with two health officials to assist the state health department on Covid-19 management, told The Telegraph on Friday that they held a meeting with the health officials of the Tripura government. “We are still assessing and collecting our data on the situation. Everyone is cooperating. Tomorrow (Saturday) we will go to the BSF headquarters in Ambassa subdivision of Dhalai district for a field visit,” he said.