14 days of isolation are not enough, says Meghalaya Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma Credit: EastMojo image

Shillong: Meghalaya leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma on Thursday demanded the government to put a robust system in place to disseminate information to the public. This, he believes, will calm frayed nerves. He made his appeal via a social media live broadcast.

Emphasising the need to look at other possible sources of transmission after Meghalaya reported its first positive COVID-19 case on Monday, Sangma said that other possible sources of transmission should also be looked at.

“I spoke to senior officers today, I told them not to look at only one source of transmission. We will have to look at other possible sources of transmission as well. It need not be only the members of the family who has a travel history, but it can also be from other silent carriers. And so we should not look at only one source of transmission but also look at all other possible sources of transmission, otherwise, we will be stuck. We will miss out on the actual source of transmission and then understand its ramifications,” said Sangma.

Drawing focus to life after lockdown, Sangma questioned, “What happens when the lockdown is withdrawn?”

He mentioned that the fight against the virus is going to be a long one.

“We have to ensure that this lockdown period that we have is appropriately utilised. Every day is important, every hour is important and this precious time should be utilised to ensure that we take all measures needed to ultimately have a state which is capable of facing these challenges post the period of lockdown. Virus is going to remain for a long time. Therefore, there is a need to prepare the state, when we talk about preparing the state. It means preparing the people, as a whole as a team,” said Sangma.

He added, “Therefore this precious time must be taken care of with precision, without losing further time. We are fortunate that we have enough time. That when the menace of the virus entering other nations, then subsequently having cases in other parts of the country and then in our state, we had enough time. Whatever time is available, I don’t want to revisit the past. Whatever time is available now let us not waste it. Let every day and hour be effectively utilised to ensure that there is a robust system.”

Lack of the availability of essential goods and rice and how the people will be hard-pressed were issues that Sangma lured upon.

“Government must take measures to cover the rest of the lot not covered under NFSA and PDS. Unless that is done we will have lots of people who will be pushed to hunger and that will ultimately be the reason for us to actually weaken our system,” said Sangma.

Students and employees stranded outside the state

Sangma suggested that that the state must come up with a dedicated officer district wise to cater to all those young men and women stranded because of this lockdown. “The dedicated team can keep on talking so that the youth can know whom to call and where to call, and share their inconvenience and hardship. So that we are able to talk to the counterpart and decide on how to mitigate those problems,” said Sangma.

He added that the measures put in place by the government to take care of the friends and youths stranded outside the state are not enough. “They are definitely having psychological problem. They will have the whole problem of mental and psychological problems,” added Sangma.

At this stage, we should be engrossed in mitigating: Sangma

When asked who was responsible for Dr Sailo’s cremation issue, Sangma said, “We are talking about mitigation it is not part of preparation. So when you are dealing with notified disaster the first thing is that preparation. We are still in the stage of preparation, that is what we have seen yesterday. And even that is not yet completed. Because there has to be a laid down course of action, that has to be taken in the event of a positive case and unfortunate loss of life due to COVID-19. And which is the identified area for cremation; therefore we have a robust system. Every locality and church has its own cemetery, identified and dedicated cemetery. So this should have been a part of the preparation, not mitigation. At this stage, we should be engrossed in mitigating.”

Sangma urged the government to use the whole access that is available in the Disaster Management Act 2005. He added that it is a culmination of long drawn instruction, involving experts.

Highlighting the need to follow a 40-day quarantine protocol, Sangma said that 14 days of isolation is not enough. Urging the government not to jump into conclusion and asked to revisit the strategy do a course correction.

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