Amid the complete lockdown due to spread of COVID-19 in the country, the men in khaki in all the Northeastern states have been relentlessly supplying cooked or packaged food to the destitute.
Northeast India has reported to positive cases so far – one each in Manipur and Mizoram. Assam has not registered any case to date.
In Assam, the police have distributed foods among the needy people across the state. Efforts of the police to make ensure the safety of the people by taking risks have been widely lauded.
The Kokrajhar police on March 26th, 2020, provided food and water among 226 people, who arrived from various parts of the country, at Sri Rampur. Following the clarion call of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, police ensured the minimum one-meter distance among the people while distributing foods. As per Government guidelines, they are currently under quarantine.
The Ri-Bhoi district police in Meghalaya also supplied foods to the vulnerable in Umroi appealing them to restrain from stepping out of their homes.
Meanwhile, extending a helping hand in times of crisis, the Roing Police helped an elderly man, who were out to purchase grocery items, by providing him mask and taking him for a medical check-up. The Director-General of Police, Arunachal Pradesh shared some photographs on Twitter.
The state governments in the Northeast have put full effort to raise medical infrastructure to fight any potential challenge. The governments have also taken steps to ensure the availability of the essential commodities during the lockdown.
The Air India and the Indian Railway have extended their support in transporting essential commodities to the Northeast as the whole region basically depends on the imported food from other parts of the country.
Gearing up its preparations, the Assam government has converted the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) into a full-fledged coronavirus treatment hospital leaving the gynaecology, cancer and the emergency ward. On the other hand, the government has prepared the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital and Sonapur Civil Hospital for treatment of COVID-19 infected patients.
The Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 27th, 2020, informed that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with 34 private hospitals who agreed to take the load of the entire patients of the GMCH. The government on March 28th, 2020, inked another MoU with private hospitals in Dibrugarh in a bid to convert the Assam Medical College COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, the state government also set up 700-bedded makeshift quarantine centre at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati.
In Meghalaya, the Catholic Church has written to its parishes to open the facilities as centres for quarantine, if the need arises, amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Catholic Church is one of the biggest churches in the state with over three lakh members in the Christian dominated mountainous state.
In Mizoram, Health and Family Welfare officials said that the state government has converted the Zoram Medical College and hospital (ZMC) in Aizawl as the treatment and isolation centre for novel Coronavirus infected patients.
On the other hand, in Tripura, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has urged the people to remain extra vigilant. “Besides Border Security Force troopers and police, I have asked all Gram Panchayats along the India-Bangladesh border to keep a close watch to check people from entering into Tripura from across the border,” Deb said.
Photo credit: @RibhoiPolice