Monday, 30th October 2017

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Northeast states shut down education institutions

However, all board exams, including Madhyamik, higher secondary, CBSE, CISCE, will continue in all the states

By Andrew W. Lyngdoh in Shillong
  • Published 17.03.20, 3:34 AM
  • Updated 17.03.20, 4:30 AM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
In this handout photo provided by the ITBP, one of the Indian nationals who were airlifted from coronavirus-hit Hubei province of China, gets tested at a quarantine facility, at Chhawla in New Delhi. (PTI)

Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura on Monday announced the closure of all state-run and private schools, colleges, universities, cinema halls, swimming pools and gymnasiums from Tuesday till March 31 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Arunachal Pradesh announced the closure till April 5 and Nagaland till April 12.

However, all board exams, including Madhyamik, higher secondary, CBSE, CISCE, will continue in all the states.

Meghalaya Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh said the budget session of the Assembly has also been truncated. The next meeting will be held on Thursday when only a vote of account will be passed.

Health minister A.L. Hek said onferences, workshops, meetings, seminars, trainings and major sports events will be postponed or cancelled.

During a debate in the Assembly on the threat from coronavirus, when Congress members Miani D. Shira and George B. Lyngdoh tabled an adjournment motion, speakers, including leader of the Opposition Mukul M. Sangma, urged the government to remain vigilant and prepared.

Chief minister Conrad K. Sangma said the situation was critical because of the way the virus was spreading and the psychological impact it had on the people.

He said since January, more than 74 students studying in China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Italy and other places had returned to the state. Around 57 of them had completed 28 days of isolation while 17 were under observation. However, till date these students have not shown any symptoms of the virus. No other case has been detected either in the state.

He said control rooms have been set up in the districts while 102 isolation wards are without ventilators. A corpus of Rs 5 crore has been established to meet the financial requirements for taking precautionary measures. While there is a testing centre at NEIGRIHMS, positive cases can only be declared after having the tests done at ICMR National Institute of Virology, Pune.

“We are taking all measures to ensure that our citizens are protected. But at the same time, we should not panic. Keep a strong mind,” Conrad said.

In Tripura, chief secretary Manoj Kumar told reporters here that the closure decision was taken at an emergency review meeting called by chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

“So far 78 passengers have been brought under surveillance, of whom 21 have completed the observation period. Two passengers were hospitalised but tested negative. There is no positive case in the state so far,” Kumar said.

He said hostels attached to educational institutions would get vacated from March 21 upto March 31, Anganwadi centres would be closed till March 31, district magistrates have been asked to issue orders under Section 144 CrPC to restrict gatherings and people have been asked to minimise unnecessary travel, particularly abroad, social and religious functions, fairs and festivals till April 15. Restrictions will also come into effect on visits at old age homes and prisons. However, take-home rations for pregnant/lactating mothers would be provided without disruption.

Kumar said the state was fully prepared to deal with any situation and asked people not to panic. Sounding false alarm or warning leading to panic is a punishable offence, he said.

State education department director U.K. Chakma on Sunday asked all headmasters to arrange sanitizers or soap/hand-wash and ensure that all students and teachers wash their hands properly. He said board and school annual examinations were on but Nishtha (NCERT syllabus teacher training programme), scheduled to start from March 16, was postponed.

In Nagaland, a meeting convened by chief minister Neiphiu Rio in Kohima banned the entry of all tourists (foreign and domestic) into the state with effect from March 18, suspended issuing of fresh inner-line permits for all tourists with immediate effect, asked citizens to avoid public gatherings and put on hold official functions involving big gatherings, including mini-hornbills.

All entry points and check gates into the state will be screened by state police. Manpower will be trained and equipped by the health and family welfare department.

All persons, students and public entering the state have been asked to contact covid-19 helpline numbers 7005435243, 9856071745, 7005539653 and toll free number 1070 or email nlssu.idsp@nic.in.

A Special Action Group, drawn from line departments, will be formed to deal with covid-19 related matters.

Rio urged the MLAs to go to their districts and hold meetings with the task force.

In Mizoram, a meeting headed by health minister Dr R. Lalthangliana, also decided to ban mass gathering in hospitals, prohibit outsiders from visiting inmates of residential institutions, de-addiction centres and children’s homes and will launch awareness campaign for churchgoers during Sunday Bible classes from March 22.

Mizoram University and its constituent, Pachhunga University College, have suspended classes from Tuesday till April 3.

The government appealed to people with coronavirus-like symptoms to stay indoors and take treatment in hospital. Mizoram has not reported any confirmed case of coronavirus till date.

In Arunachal, too, board and final exams will continue.

Additional reporting by Tanmoy Chakraborty in Agartala, Bhadra Gogoi in Dimapur and Henry L. Khojol in Aizawl