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Sikkim gears up to tackle threat

By A Correspondent

GANGTOK, March 5 - Sikkim Chief Secretary SC Gupta chaired a meeting at Tashiling Secretariat here to review preparedness for preventing and containing a possible coronavirus outbreak in the State.

DGP AS Rao, Principal Secretary (Health) K Srinivasalu, Principal Secretary (Rural Development Department) CS Rao, IPR Secretary Namrata Thapa, Transport Secretary Raju Basnet, among other officials, attended the meeting that was held on Wednesday.

The Chief Secretary expressed concern over detection of coronavirus cases in different parts of the country, stating that the current situation requires a proper and effective action plan to deal with a possible outbreak in the State.

He directed the officials concerned to issue an advisory discouraging people from travelling to affected countries and follow screening and quarantine process for those returning to the State from abroad.

He suggested deployment of additional police force at check-posts along with well-trained and well-equipped medical teams for efficient screening.

The Chief Secretary said the dos and don�ts and guidelines for containing the spread of the virus need to be disseminated. He also requested everyone not to indulge in rumour-mongering that may cause unnecessary panic among the masses.

The officials of the State Health Department presented a report on the public health response in the State, including setting up of an isolation ward at new STNM Hospital, Sochakgang with 20 beds and five ventilators. Further, a 20-bed isolation ward was also set up at the Central Referral Hospital, Manipal at 5th Mile.

People in the State with recent travel history to China or any other affected country are being traced, tracked and kept under observation. The meeting decided to suspend inner line permits issued to visit Sikkim till further notice.

The Tourism Department has directed the owners of hotels, homestays and lodges to maintain a register of travellers with their contact details for surveillance purpose. Likewise, the Education Department has been asked to conduct awareness sessions on coronavirus in every school of the State.

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