Monday, 30th October 2017

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Borders shut over coronavirus threat

117 quarantined in Mizoram

By A Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 15.03.20, 2:37 AM
  • Updated 15.03.20, 2:37 AM
  • 2 mins read
People wait to be screened at the Agartala-Akhaura checkpost in Tripura on Friday. Picture by Tanmoy Chakraborty

The Union home ministry has ordered suspension of passenger movement through the three immigration land checkposts located in Assam along the borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan from Saturday midnight, in wake of the novel coronovirus pandemic.

The order issued by the ministry’s foreign division (immigration section), said passenger movement will be restricted at the checkposts at Mankachar in South Salmara-Mankachar district, Sutarkandi in Karimganj district and Darranga in Baksa district.

Assam shares an international border of 263km with Bangladesh and 267km with Bhutan. While Mankachar and Sutarkandi share international borders with Bangladesh, Darranga has a boundary with Bhutan. All these areas have trade centres and frequent movement of salespersons.

“Participation of foreigners in the border haats shall remain suspended with immediate effect until further orders. The operation of existing Indo-Bangladesh cross-border passenger trains and buses shall also remain suspended from March 15,” the order said.

It said there will be intensified health inspection at all these entry points and any traveller showing Covid-19 symptoms or with a recent travel history to one of the seven outbreak countries — Italy, Iran, China, Spain, France, Germany and Korea — shall be subjected to quarantine in an appropriate facility of state or central governments. In India, two persons have died and the number of cases has crossed 80.

Bangladesh has already confirmed three cases of coronavirus. Several airlines operating from Bangladesh have announced cancellation of flights to India. Biman Bangladesh also announced its flights will not operate to India from Saturday. However, one flight will ply on Sunday to bring back Bangladeshis from Calcutta.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Thursday announced all visas issued by it and assistant high commissions in Bangladesh will remain suspended from March 13 to April 15. No new visas will be issued for India during this period.

Passenger movement at the checkposts along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura are also suspended. “Passenger movements at the ICPs of Dalu and Dawki in Meghalaya, Kawrpuichhuah in Mizoram and in Tripura at Agartala will remain suspended,” the order said.

Similar suspension was also ordered for Mizoram’s Zokhawthar ICP along the Indo-Myanmar border.

The Mizoram government has clamped Section 144 of CrPC along the international borders to prevent movement of people across Myanmar and Bangladesh, an official said on Saturday.

He said violation of the order will invite upto one-month imprisonment and a fine of Rs 200 under Section 188 of the IPC.

Principal health director Dr F. Lianhlira said the state had not reported any coronavirus case.

At least 117 people have been quarantined at home as a precautionary measure, according to health officials. They said seven persons, who were put under home quarantine earlier, have completed the incubation period.

Additional reporting by Henry L. Khojol in Aizawl