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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Mizoram: Churches to be used as quarantine facilities

As Mizos return to the state, 90 churches offered to convert their halls into quarantine centres but this number may increase.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati | Updated: May 16, 2020 8:32:31 pm
Officials await the arrival of migrants aboard the special train at railway station. (Source: Twitter/Mizoram CM)

Following a request by the state government, churches in Mizoram have agreed for their premises to be used as quarantine facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This pertains to most church halls available with the bigger churches,” said state Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, adding that the decision was taken keeping in mind the large number of residents coming back to the state.

“Since May 4, around 2,000 people have returned, and we are expecting another 10,000 to return in the next few weeks,” he said. On Friday, 833 passengers de-boarded a special ‘shramik’ train coming from Chennai. As per rules, all the passengers entering the state via these trains will need to undergo institutional quarantine for 14 days.

According to a release by the state Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), many churches have also offered to provide food . “So far we have 90 churches who have offered but this number may increase,” said Chuaungo, adding that these 90 are in the capital, Aizawl. Among them, are the bigger churches such as the Presbyterian Church of India, Baptist Mission Church and Salvation Army, authorities confirmed.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Zoramthanga tweeted: “And with the Churches strengthening their various spiritual and physical supports towards curbing this COVID-19 pandemic, #Mizoram just got restored again to one powerhouse of #Love #Peace and #Unity.”

On Friday, in a meeting of the executive committee on COVID-19, it was agreed that the state supported an extension of the lockdown till May 31. “This is our suggestion, and it is likely we will extend but we are waiting for the Centre’s guidelines as we want to align it with what they have to say,” said Chuaungo, “While we are keen on extending the lockdown, we want certain relaxations, especially when it comes to commercial and economic activities.”

Last week, the state’s first and only COVID-19 patient — a 50-year-old pastor who had travelled to Amsterdam— was released after a 45-day fight with the disease. The state has not reported any COVID-19 cases after that.

However, the authorities maintain that it is too early to say that the state is “Covid-free.” “While it is true that there are no active cases, we must remember that there are many people who have come into the state and are currently in quarantine and being tested,” Health Minister Lalthangliana had earlier said.

On Saturday, a release from the DIPR quoted Lalthangliana, reiterating this point: “Even though we have no COVID case, with Mizos from different parts of India returning home, we need to remember that our condition is as serious as before. If we take this lockdown lightly, we are in great danger as a state.”

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