Meghalaya lacks quarantine centres, admits health minister

Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare Minister Alexander Laloo Hek on May 16 admitted that the state lacks quarantine centres and therefore has suggested home quarantine for the returnees.

“We have below 1000 (rooms). We have our limitations,” he told reporters.

Hek said that in view of shortages of rooms for institutional quarantine, the government has sought the help of the various dorbar shnongs (local administrative bodies) to let such returnees stay in schools and community centres during the quarantine period.

“The stranded citizens will be returning in thousands,” he added.

The state government, apart from its own institutions, has also enlisted various hotels, guest houses and home stays as quarantine centres.

“But still these do not add up,” Hek said.

Earlier this week, opposition leader Mukul Sangma had expressed his doubts over home quarantine and whether those people will follow protocols.

Sangma had said that quarantining of returnees to the state should be effectively enforced to ensure safety and not to be taken as a mere advisory of the government. “Therefore, quarantine is an issue of enforcement and not just advisory,” he had said.

On May 15, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had informed that around 400 people, who returned to Meghalaya from other parts of the country recently, had violated self-quarantine protocols by venturing out and putting others at risk.

He said these citizens, who live in the state capital, were cautioned by health officials.

The home quarantine period for those coming from the states of the Northeastern region is 14 days. “Those who have returned from outside the region will have to remain quarantined for 14 days and then they will have to be under self-observation for another 28 days,” he said.

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