NEW DELHI, May 9 - The Centre on Saturday asked the northeastern states to ensure that the homebound migrant labourers and students and those returning from abroad are screened and quarantined as per guidelines and protocol laid down by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of External Affairs.
As the northeastern states have international borders, the Centre advised them to take adequate measures in the border areas to prevent exposure by conducting screening of all individuals at entry points and follow quarantine protocol.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan held a meeting with northeastern states to review preparedness and containment measures taken for COVID-19 management. The video conference was also attended by Minister of State for H&FW Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Mizoram Health Minister Dr R Lalthangliana, Arunachal Pradesh Health Minister Alo Libang and Assam Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika along with senior officers from the eight states.
�It is a huge relief and very encouraging to see green zones in most of the northeastern states... Let us focus and work together by converting the orange zones to green zones, and maintain the protective status across the states,� Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
During the detailed interaction with the northeastern states, the Central team highlighted various issues related to testing facilities, health infrastructure, surveillance, contact tracing, and also shared their best practices.
�Political commitment at the highest levels is leading the government�s response against COVID-19. India is prepared and fighting with the pandemic through its various timely measures and sturdy systems of surveillance for the virus,� Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
The Union Health Minister said with cohesive efforts of both the Centre and the states, an adequate number of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals as well as quarantine centres are being developed in the Northeast.
�These provide us the assurance that the country is well prepared to face any eventuality due to COVID-19,� he said.
The Centre is also supporting the states by providing sufficient number of masks and personal protective equipment, ventilators, etc., he said, while hailing the positive management of COVID-19 in the Northeast.
He urged the states to aggressively pursue the download of Aarogya Setu app to aid contact tracing and surveillance, and for self-assessment by people. He also advised the states to put information on COVID-19 hospitals and allied facilities in public domain to help people access the services.