By Sujit Chakraborty
Guwahati/Aizawl/Agartala, March 19 (IANS) The northeast is facing shortage of face masks, hand sanitisers and other items required to deal with coronavirus and other health hazards, according to officials on Thursday.
The shortage has forced people to pay three-four times higher prices for them. The district administrations have asked teams, comprising designated magistrates and cops, to visit medical stores to check the availability of face masks and hand sanitisers and at what prices they are being sold.
There has been no coronavirus case in the eight N-E states, including Sikkim.
On the use of masks, the central government had clarified that medical masks should not be used by healthy persons as they created insecurity and would lead to neglecting other essential measures, like washing hands, said an official of the Assam Health and Family Welfare Department in Guwhati.
In Aizawl, Inspector General of Police John Neihlaia said a case had been registered against some students, studying outside Mizoram, for circulating fake WhatsApp messages causing panic and distress among Mizo students outside the state and their families.
The Mizoram Police identified two students studying in Shillong as the source of the message.
Mizoram Health and Family Welfare Minister R. Lalthangliana said the government had taken all precautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus. The Mizoram council of ministers, headed by Chief Minister Zoramthanga, reviewed the steps taken to curb the spread.
To avoid large gatherings, the Presbyterian Church, the biggest church of the state, has decoded to stop all church-related gatherings, except the Sunday service.
Mizoram and Manipur have prohibited the cross-border movements of people along the border with Myanmar and Bangladesh as precautionary measures.
Myanmar shares 2,204 km (1,370 miles) border with China, where coronavirus first emerged in December 2019 and since then spread to over 100 countries infecting several thousand people.
In Agartala, Tripura Health and Family Welfare Department official Dip Debbarma said the Centre recently accreditated two laboratories in the Guwahati Medical College and government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital in Agartala for testing Covid-19 samples.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, other Ministers and MLAs are campaigning against the coronavirus spread and are also distributing leaflets. The government has also taken special steps in the villages along the Bangladesh borders, said Deb.
In Shillong, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma reviewed the preparedness through video link with the Deputy Commissioners and Medical Officers of all districts. Participation of village chiefs, community and monitoring of the situation for the next 15 days were crucial, Sangma said.