At a time when the very serious challenge posed by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the world has shook even strong and prosperous nations, India and Uttarakhand are committed to overcome this challenge. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said this in his address in the Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday.
Rawat said that under the guidance of prime minister Narendra Modi and recommendations of medical experts, the state government has taken various effective measures. Uttarakhand is among the leading states in the fight against COVID-19. Under the Epidemic Disease Control Act -1897, COVID-19 regulations were imposed in the state and a state task force was formed under the chief secretary. The state cabinet has held two emergency meetings to deal with the situation. Considering the risk of contagion on the Indo-Nepal border, every person passing through the posts in the state was screened. A total of 55,109 persons were screened at these posts and none was found to be a suspected patient. Presently the international border has been sealed. Earlier, the health department teams screened 50,016 persons at the Dehradun, Pantnagar and Pithoragarh airports with none displaying symptoms of infection. Currently, all domestic flights are prohibited. Since December 31, 2019, the Government of India has been providing the state government with list of persons arriving from China and other affected nations. So far a list of 2,082 persons has been received and all of these were screened at the airport.
Of these, 628 persons have undergone 28 day observation, 131 have gone out of the state and 1,323 are currently under observation.
Since people entering the state are the main source of the virus, the entry of all domestic and foreign tourists was banned on March 20 till further orders. All schools, colleges, cinema halls, malls and other enterprises have been closed till March 31 to prevent crowding with the closure being extended as per the Central Government’s directions. The lockdown announced by the state till March 31 and extended further as per Central Government directions is being strictly enforced in the districts. Rawat further informed that the cabinet has released Rs 50 crore and Rs 10 crore has been made available immediately from the CM assistance fund for measures to prevent spread of COVID-19. Rapid response teams have been formed at the state and district levels while NHM and Asha workers are spreading awareness at the block and village levels.
Apart from ensuring supply of essential commodities, labourers registered with ESIC are being provided Rs 1,000 per month. To provide basic food items to the unregistered labourers, Rs 30 crore from the CM relief fund has been allocated to the district magistrates. All suspected patients are being treated for free while dedicated toll-free helpline number 104 and 0135-2609500 are operational to provide information and directions. Currently 933 isolation beds are reserved for COVID-19 cases in various hospitals apart from 1384 beds for quarantine in the districts.
Rawat stressed that measures taken by the government can succeed only with public cooperation in strictly observing the 21 day lockdown.