Govt allays fears of community spread

Govt allays fears of community spread

SHILLONG: The state government has ruled out the possibility of community transmission after five BSF personnel tested positive for COVID-19 recently saying stringent measures were in place to prevent such an eventuality.
Replying to a question about the fear of possible community transmission at Umpling gripping people, Director of Health Services (MI), Dr Aman War said that the question does not arise since quarantine is mandatory for anyone entering the state.
“We have made it very clear that BSF personnel should not come out of their camp and at the same time those who are staying outside should not go inside,” he said adding that they have to wear face masks and maintain social distancing even if they go to the market.
War said that during a meeting on Thursday, BSF officials informed the government there are about 150 more personnel who have gone on leave and will be returning to the state.
“We have made it clear they should follow the protocols,” he said.
War also said the BSF personnel, who have tested positive and quarantined inside their campus, are following the protocols of the Union Health ministry, while those staying outside the campus are following those of the state Health department.
He said the BSF has been asked not to bring all of them at one go and that they can come in batches to minimise the risk of infection.
“Those who went on leave will return to the state to resume their duty but they will not be allowed to return at the same time,” War said.
He said those who have tested negative will also have to complete the quarantine period in Shillong, and cannot move immediately to their respective places of posting in the international borders.
Earlier, the state government had said that only five BSF personnel besides the wife of a jawan tested positive for COVID-19.
Health minister AL Hek told reporters on Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases has been confirmed by the state Health department after testing the samples.
While clarifying on the statement of the BSF, War said earlier it had informed that some of the personnel tested positive for COVID-19 on their arrival in Assam because they collected the samples when the jawans arrived at the Guwahati airport or railway station.
“Since the personnel are posted in Meghalaya, they were sent to Shillong for quarantine in their own campus. However, when we collected their samples and re-tested in Shillong, they were all found negative,” War said.
He refused to comment on the policy of the government to continue to allow people from outside to enter the state.
“We have to agree that the government cannot deny entry to our own people who are stranded outside though we need to regulate the entry in view of surge in COVID-19 cases in Assam,” War said.
On the allegation of SBI Branch Manager of Khliehriat Branch violating protocols, he said that the official was part of the staff of the bank’s Khanapara branch where one had tested positive on June 22.
Informing that the SBI official had joined Khliehriat branch on June 15, he said that he was asked to go to Assam during the contact tracing since he was associated with the Khanapara branch.
“He had gone to Guwahati on June 23 and after he tested negative, he had gone to his home at Guwahati and returned to the state on June 28. He had shown the people stationed at Byrnihat the certificate that he had tested negative and his ID. It will be wrong to say that he had violated the protocols. But yes, there was a communication gap,” he added.
According to War, the SBI Branch Manager tested positive after his samples were taken on reaching Khliehriat.

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