IMPHAL, Mar 23 : Further expanding and intensifying the preventive measures taken up so far against COVID-19 pandemic, the State Cabinet has resolved to impose total lockdown across the State with immediate effect till March 31. However emergency/essential services, grocery and vegetable sellers, etc would be exempted.
A Cabinet meeting held today at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat to review various precautionary and preparatory measures that have been taken up in the State against COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet meeting decided to create a Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund with a corpus fund of Rs 10 crore to cater to emergency financial requirements.
Meanwhile the Government has appealed to the public to contribute to the relief fund for which an account has been opened in the Manipur State Co-operative Bank Ltd. with account number 70600875695 (IFSC Code: YESBOMSCB01 and MICR Code: 795808002).
The Cabinet also decided that a central COVID-19 control room (24X7) would be opened under Health Department at CM office complex. The control room would be manned by the personnel from various departments including Police Department.
It was also decided that home quarantine would be imposed for all travellers/persons entering Manipur with immediate effect.
As a special humanitarian measure, NFSA rice allocation for April 2020 would be released in advance and free of cost to beneficiaries.
After minute deliberation, it was decided that since there may be eligible poor families who are left out of the NFSA beneficiary list, the list of SECC-like poor families enrolled under CMHT would be considered for providing NFSA rice.
JNIMS and RIMS would earmark dedicated blocks for only COVID-19 patients, as an advance preparation.
The Cabinet meeting further resolved that all Cabinet Ministers will donate a month’s salary to Manipur State COVID-19 Relief Fund. The State Cabinet further appealed to all Government servants to donate a day’s salary to Manipur State COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The Cabinet also appreciated the people of Manipur for their cooperation in making the Public Curfew on Sunday a complete success.
Meanwhile, speaking to media persons, Government spokesperson and Works Minister Th Biswajit said that the Cabinet has also taken a decision to utilise dedicated buildings in both Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences as isolation wards for the time being.
He said that beneficiaries of Chief Minister Gi Hakshel-gi Tengbang who don’t posses NFSA cards will also be given free rice.
“We can stop this COVID-19 pandemic only if we follow and observe the precautionary guidelines issued by experts and scientists. We should not hide any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 but inform dedicated health centres at the earliest”, Biswajit said.
“Let’s maintain proper hygiene, wash our hands regularly and maintain social distance to defeat COVID-19”, he added.
Meanwhile an order issued by Chief Secretary Dr J Suresh Babu declared that all inter-State borders would be closed to both public and private transport.
It said that all passenger transport services (both public and private) would be suspended but vehicles transporting goods would be exempted.
All shops, malls, markets and commercial establishments should be closed except shops dealing with groceries, vegetables, medicine, milk, LPG and petrol pumps.
The same order said that all persons who have been advised home quarantine should observe it very strictly, and DCs and SPs should ensure strict compliance with the home quarantine protocol.
All Government and private offices should remain closed except Home Department, Police Department, GAD, District Administration, Health, Fire services, Prisons, Power, PHED, Municipalities, CAF&PD and NIC.
It also exempted banks/ATM, print and electronic media, IT and ITES including postal and internet services, hospitals, optical stores, diagnostic centres, pharmacies and takeaway/home delivery restaurants.
The same order said that persons violating these restrictions would be prosecuted under relevant laws.
Another order issued by the Principal Secretary (Home) informed that Finance Department, Treasury/Sub-Treasury offices, Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, Forest Department and Telephone/Telecom Services would be exempted from the lockdown.
On the other hand, Principal Secretary (Transport) P Vaiphei issued an order today whereby Manipur Heli Service has been suspended with immediate effect until further orders.