Former Sikkim Chief Minister and SDF chief Pawan Chamling has appealed to people to rise above petty caste-community differences for safeguarding against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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“Today, the world is under a great public health threat due to the spread of Coronavirus or Covid-19. Just this week, the first fatality in India due to the virus came from Karnataka and this morning, we received the news of the second death from the virus in Delhi. Till today, more than 5000 people have died globally and the World Health Organization has declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. More than 1,28,000 people have been affected in over 80 countries. Countries around the globe are taking strong measures to prevent this outbreak from spreading to catastrophic proportions,” Chamling said.

“I appeal to the people of Sikkim, to civil society, students and the government to take strong measures to safeguard our people from this deadly virus. This is a public health emergency and all of us together, leaving aside all differences of caste, community and party lines, must work hand in hand to safeguard our state from this pandemic. Though we have not had any cases of Coronavirus so far in Sikkim, we must take every measure with due seriousness to prevent the outbreak from reaching Sikkim,” he added.

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He appealed the Sikkim government to take measures such as setting up quarantine rooms for people suspected of carrying the virus, making hand sanitizers and face masks available to the public, setting up screening rooms and facilities at Rangpo, Melli, Nayabazar, Rhenock and Reshi, Sombaria-Ribdi bordering Darjeeling, Chewabhanjyang. “Strong screening processes should be followed at the checkposts, setting up isolation rooms/wards,” he added.

Chamling also stressed on carrying out awareness programs on the pandemic to inform the people about personal safety measures against the virus.

In order to test suspected Coronavirus patients, testing facilities should be set up, he said.

The former chief minister also said the state should establish emergency centres in every district hospitals and ensure preparation and activation of doctors and health workers to tackle emergency cases if Coronavirus patients need to be treated.

All the restaurants must be directed to install sanitizers at the front door and maintain running water taps, soap and hand dryers. They should also maintain a 1 metre distance between tables, he said.

“Tourists must be stopped from entering Sikkim and events that require large gatherings, from weddings, picnics, meetings, cinema, political gatherings as well as schools and colleges must be suspended for at least 1 month. The government must put aside Rs 100 crores as an emergency fund for a Coronavirus prevention and management program,” the former chief minister said.

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“I appeal to the people of Sikkim that if you have symptoms of the virus, please visit the nearest hospital. Please do not hide your symptoms as the earlier the virus is detected, the better it is for your safety and the safety of our state. I appeal to the people of Sikkim to come together to combat this outbreak. Let us work together for a Coronavirus-free Sikkim,” he added.

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