With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India touching 30, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday reviewed the status of screening of people coming to India from neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, security at the borders in the Northeast has been tightened. Sources said the Nathu La pass has been sealed and Sikkim is not allowing foreigners to enter the state.
“Home Secretary held a video conference with Chief Secretary/Additional Chief Secretary and DGP/ Additional DGP of States viz., Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Punjab, besides Secretary Border Management and DsG of BSF/SSB,” an MHA statement said.
Home Ministry officials said the states have informed the home secretary that doctors are conducting regular screening at various transit points and the community in border areas has been sensitised through gram sabhas about the precautions to be taken.
Sikkim on Thursday issued orders to seal the India-China border at Nathu La in the light of increasing cases of coronavirus infection. This comes after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary S C Gupta on Wednesday.
Nathu La pass is a traditional trading post between the local Chinese and Sikkimese who live on either side of the border. After the meeting on Wednesday, an order issued by the Home Department of Sikkim on Thursday suspended the trade.
“We have banned the visit of even Indians to Nathu La as it neighbours China,’’ said DG and Secretary, Health, Sikkim, Dr Pempa Bhutia. The Sikkim government has also stopped issuing Inner Line Permits (ILP) to foreign nationals, making it the first state to ban the entry of foreigners.
Five kept in isolation in Srinagar hospital
Srinagar: Five persons are in the isolation ward of the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar, officials said on Thursday. However, health officials said four of the five persons who were admitted to the hospital have tested negative for coronavirus infection while the test report of one is awaited. A senior health official said that 230 people in J&K with a travel history to foreign countries are under surveillance. The government issued public appeals in local dailies on Thursday, asking people not to panic and to “avoid large gatherings”. Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) Baseer Ahmad Khan chaired a meeting to review preventive measures, officials said. “The meeting was informed that isolation wards have been earmarked in each district hospital, SKIMS and other health institutions. Maternity Home, Sanat Nagar, Srinagar has been designated as isolation hospital… Microbiology Department of Government Medical College, Srinagar, will also provide staff and logistics for carrying out sample collection.” —ENS
Manipur: No biometric attendance for officials till March 30
Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday announced to suspend biometric attendance system for employees in all the state government offices and secretariats. The announcement was made during an emergency press conference held at the CM’s secretariat after a state-level review meeting on coronavirus attended by top officials of the state health department. Soon after the announcement, an order was also issued by Manipur Chief Secretary Dr J Suresh Babu, ordering the immediate suspension of biometric attendance system till March 30 until further orders. The Chief Minister said the government is closely monitoring the situation and taking all precautionary measures to counter the outbreak in Manipur since January 18. —ENS
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