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Imphal: Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Saturday announced that the much-awaited vaccination drive for the age group of 18 to 44 years will start from May 17 onwards.

According to Singh, the state has received 39,000 doses so far for the vaccination of this age group. He urged those belonging to the age group to get themselves registered on the CoWIN platform, Aarogya Setu or UMANG app to schedule their vaccination slots.

The CM also urged the people with oxygen cylinders at home to come forward and donate them to the government considering the increasing demand for medical oxygen in hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.

All these cylinders would be returned to the owners after the pandemic is over, said Singh.

Singh also urged the public not to panic as the government is putting in all possible efforts and making all necessary arrangements to effectively tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chief minister further announced that all doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, who are directly involved in COVID-19 treatment and duty, would be given incentives of Rs 500, Rs 400 and Rs 150 per day, respectively. Drivers and handymen, who are transporting oxygen cylinders from other states, would also be given Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 per trip, respectively, as incentives, he added.

Also read: Manipur registers highest one-day spike of 726 new COVID-19

Even though generation of medical oxygen in the state has tremendously increased in the past several weeks with committed efforts from the state government, the chief minister stated that more oxygen is being brought in from Nagaon and Silchar in Assam and Dimapur in Nagaland.

The current daily oxygen requirement in the state has increased to 1,200 D-type cylinders and 450 B-type cylinders, said Singh.

As such, the government is trying to explore all possible means to ensure that there’s no dearth in oxygen supply, he said, adding that oxygen generating units of different capacities would be set up in all the districts at the earliest. In addition to the 50 oxygen concentrators which the state had received a few days ago, around 1,000 more would arrive in a couple of days. Stating that RIMS, JNIMS and Shija Hospitals have their own oxygen generating units, Singh said that the newly installed units of Churachandpur and Thoubal District Hospitals are also likely to start functioning by May 17.

Regarding manpower, the chief minister said that 230 doctors and 178 new nurses had been engaged on a contractual basis to meet the manpower requirement. He further said that more ambulances would be provided to some hill districts soon.

Meanwhile, the chief minister said that the State Technical Expert Committee has approved the use of Ivermectin tablets by COVID-19 positive patients. The medicine was prescribed by doctors during the first wave of COVID-19 as well.

“Now, Ivermectin tablets along with Vitamin C, Zinc, D3 tablets and pulse oximeters would be distributed free of cost to home isolation patients,” he said. Observing that there is a joint effort to overcome the pandemic, he urged the public to fight it with confidence and stop panicking. SOP adherence, timely prevention and early treatment are the only means to effectively tackle the virus, he added.

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