As Covid cases rise, NE govts warn of action for defying norms

With coronavirus cases increasing rapidly in the northeastern states and crossing the 3,000-mark on Thursday, the state governments in the region warned they would take stern action against those violating quarantine norms.

With the return of over 3.5 lakh domestic inhabitants from south and north India, there is a surge in coronavirus cases in the eight northeastern states, taking the total positive cases to 3,019, out of which 2,340 are active cases.

With a single-day record of 243 cases, Assam’s tally climbed to 2,073 on Thursday night, with active cases at 1,624, state health officials said.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma said that those creating troubles in the quarantine centres and violating the Covid-19 guidelines would be booked under non-bailable provisions.

“Some unruly people are doing indiscipline in the quarantine centre and trying to infect others with the disease by defying the quarantine norms. Government has decided to initiate non-bailable case against these unruly people, even attempt to murder provision against those people. This would mean that they would have to stay with (sic)government custody for several more months,” he said.

The minister said that if somebody has any problem staying in the quarantine centres, they are free to tell the officials about their issues and efforts would be made to get them resolved, but indiscipline would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, five persons recently escaped from the quarantine centres at Silchar in south Assam and in Guwahati but were tracked down by police. Poor quality of food and other difficulties are said to be the reasons for their escape.

In Tripura, officials slapped fines of Rs 100 to Rs 200 on around 4,000 people so far for not wearing face masks.

Meanwhile, a section of patients late Wednesday night vandalised a Covid-19 care centre in Agartala alleging they were served “poor quality food”. Authorities have initiated a probe into the incident.

According to the West Tripura district administration, some coronavirus patients late on Wednesday night vandalised the Saheed Bhagat Singh Yuba Awas Covid care centre and harassed the health workers alleging “bad quality food were served to them”.

“We would take stern action against those violating the quarantine norms and creating ruckus at the health and ovid-19 care centres,” a police official told IANS.

Governments of other northeastern states have also taken similar decisions to maintain discipline in the health and Covid-19 care centres.

Following the footsteps of Rajasthan, Mizoram became the first state in the northeast to promulgate an ordinance to tackle violations of personal and public safety, public hygiene, and lockdown measures with stringent punishment.

The Mizoram (Containment and Prevention of COVID-19) Ordinance, 2020 stipulates imprisonment up to three months and a fine of Rs 5,000 for violations.

While Assam registered the maximum of 2,073 Covid-19 positive cases, Tripura comes next with 647 cases including 471 active cases, followed by Manipur with 124 (86 active) cases, Nagaland with 80 (all active), Meghalaya with 33 (19 active), Arunachal with 42 (41 active), Mizoram with 17 (16 active) and Sikkim with three (all active).