The state government has decided to have a strong mechanism in place to track and break the transmission chain and to further strengthen the health system as precautionary measures to prevent any possible spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) in the state.
After chairing the cabinet meeting here on Friday, chief minister Conrad K Sangma told reporters that the government is working on ensuring that a very strong mechanism is put in place.
“In fact it (mechanism) is in the advance stage and it should be activated by tonight…to ensure that we are able to track as many students or people working outside and who have come back home, as possible (while realizing that if any situation will come, it will come from outside),” he said.
The chief minister said there are close to 2,000 to 3,000 students and people working outside the state and the country (from Meghalaya) who have come back home.
According to him, the objective of the mechanism is to ensure that all of them are safe and are given right advises on how to take care of themselves and their families.
Stating that the first step is tracking and breaking the transmission chain, Sangma said, “If we are able to break the transmission chain, we will be able to stop the spread of this virus and that is also the strategy that is being done at the central government level.”
He appealed to all the people who have come back from outside the state not to worry but to simply call 108 and give their names and information so that volunteers can monitor and guide them on the things that needs to be followed.
He also informed that such people can also register their names online for the purpose adding “it is important to put a mechanism in place to continuously reach out to individuals coming back from outside to comfort them, guide them and monitor them – that is our objective.”
The chief minister said the second pillar of the government’s strategy would be strengthening of the health system.
“Luckily Meghalaya is technically at Stage Zero as not a single case has been detected (so far) but the important aspect is that we need to ensure that as a state we need to be prepared as far as possible in terms of the health systems that are there,” he said.
Pointing out that India is at Stage 2 with 225 cases reported as of today, he further said no system in the world today nowhere even in the most develop countries is in a position to be able to tackle a Stage 4 kind of a situation.
“Therefore we need to ensure that whatever facilities that is there they are properly activated and ready in case the situation arises and that also includes ensuring human resources (or medical staffs) are also trained and sensitized,” he stressed.
The chief minister further informed that the third pillar is very important and that is the community capacity building.
“The community involvement is very important. There is need to mobilize the community to really spread the awareness to maintain calmness and that there no need to panic and at the same time be responsible and careful is the message we want to give,” he said.
Earlier, Sangma had also attended a video conferencing chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the chief ministers of the various states in the country to discuss on measures to fight against the spread of the COVID-19.
“We had a two-hour long meeting on different steps taken by GOI and also measures to be taken up by the states in respect to the current situation that the world as a whole is facing,” he told reporters.
With the state having nil cases, the chief minister said that it is the right time for the government to take all precautions and advance measures and ensure that we minimize the impace in every sense.
He informed that a number of steps have been taken including closing down of institutes, schools, colleges and also asking everybody to cancel public programmes, avoid crowded places and maintain social distancing.