Amid the Coronavirus pandemic which has gripped the entire country, Minister of State for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh on Monday informed that five out of the eight states in the northeastern region are now free from the Coronavirus. These states are Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura. With 1396 fresh positive cases in the country, the total tally of Coronavirus cases has reached 27,892. 6,184 infected individuals have recovered from the deadly disease. 16 districts across the country have not reported any new case in the past 28 days.
MoS Jitendra Singh also informed that three states namely, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram are not free of the virus but have not reported any new cases in the recent past. Singh credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and the priority given to the northeastern region's development in the past six years. Furthermore, the MoS added that the DoNER had made available a fund amounting to Rs 25 crore for the state governments of the region before the lockdown was imposed.
In an exclusive conversation with Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the preparedness of the State for COVID-19 from the beginning and the response of the team to the first case of infection were the two keys reasons for Meghalaya containing the novel Coronavirus outbreak there.
"Meghalaya had started the entire quarantine, isolation process way back on March 16. We closed down schools, tourist entry, State Assembly session, and other places. We had a Corona Awareness Day on March 22 before PM announced the Janta Curfew. All kinds of civil society institutions ensured public awareness," CM Conrad Sangma said.
He recalled the challenge the state faced when the first positive case was confirmed on April 13, that of a doctor, which led to contact tracing of around 6,000 people.
"It was a massive exercise for us to immediately implement. But a lot of work put down from the first case allowed us to contain (the outbreak). We had a lockdown and all primary and secondary contacts were traced and tested. Quick implementation and early curfew models of Meghalaya were key to ensure it is under control," he said.