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Centre concerned over increasing corona cases in Meghalaya    

Ri Bhoi jail spreads Covid, increases positivity rate  

Shillong, July 3:Union DoNER minister Jitendra Singh said that there is progressive decline in Covid cases in all the Northeastern states except Meghalaya and cited spread of cases in Ri Bhoi jail as the reason.

In a meeting convened to review the Covid situation in Northeastern states in New Delhi on Saturday, the minister expressed satisfaction that all the states are catching up with national average in terms of decline in positivity rate. “Meghalaya is the only exception which witnessed a surge due to the corona outbreak in a jail in Ri-Bhoi, he added.

Singh informed that in the Northeastern region, positivity rate, which was 3.96% on June 30, has gone down to 2.94% on July 2. This is in tune with the national average declining from 2.34% on June 30 to 2.09% on June 2.

The meeting was attended by health secretaries and senior officials of all the eight Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

Union Secretary, Ministry of North East, Secretary North Eastern Council and Joint Secretary in- charge Northeast in the Ministry of Health and senior official from NITI Aayog also attended the meeting.

All the eight states informed the minister that they are taking regular measures to defeat the second wave of the pandemic and at the same time augmenting the health infrastructure with support from the Centre and the ministry of DoNER.

Singh cautioned that decline in active cases must be followed with greater thrust on vaccination and strict observance of corona protocol. He said, he is in constant touch with all the eight chief ministers of Northeastern states and whatever help is sought from the states is being promptly provided from the Centre. The minister took note of the vaccine supply issues of Nagaland and Manipur and directed the union health ministry officials to address the same on an urgent basis.

Singh said, what is worrisome is that in the last wave of the pandemic, Northeast had remained relatively unaffected by Covid compared to many other states and some states like Sikkim did not have a single corona positive case throughout the lockdown period.

“But in contrast this year, Northeastern states have also witnessed significant rise in corona positive cases”, he said.

In May, during the peak in corona cases in the Northeastern states, Singh had taken a high level meeting in the wake of considerable media attention. He had directed the officials to find ways and means to ensure that the rising graph of corona positive cases in different Northeastern states start declining thereby flattening the curve. The minister had advised for strict enforcement measures and extensive testing and contact tracing measures.

He expressed satisfaction that all the Northeastern states have sufficient bed capacities and oxygen stock.

He also referred to the support given by Japan and UNDP for installation of oxygen plants in each of the eight NE states.

Singh noted that during the first phase, all the eight states of the North East managed Covid-19 very effectively and the entire region emerged as a model for corona management in the entire country. He, however, expressed concern that during the second phase, Covid-19 took a huge toll in the region in comparison to last year.

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