Mizoram government to use force to quarantine people

Aizawl, Mar 19 (PTI): Invoking 'The Epidemic Diseases Act 1897', the Mizoram government has rolled out a set of regulations with the help of which it can use force to quarantine and isolate certain people to prevent the spread of coronavirus, officials said.

'The Mizoram Epidemic (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020' was rolled out on Wednesday and extended to the whole of the state, an official statement said on Thursday.

According to the regulations, any person, who returned from coronavirus affected states and countries in the past 28 days, must report to screening points and will have to put under home quarantine or isolated at a designated isolation facility, failing which he or she will be forced to be either quarantined at home or isolated at designated isolation centres.

During the isolation period, the person must strictly follow the government regulations and call state helpline number in case he has a health complaint, the statement said.

Any information related to the virus should not be taken authentic unless otherwise given by state health principal director and nodal officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), it said.

According to the set of regulations, no private laboratories are authorized to take or test samples for coronavirus and the government will set up sample collection centres as circumstance demands.

Any passengers coming from outside the state must report to government-designated screening points.

Any person, who has a complaint of coronavirus like symptoms must call state helpline number-102 (toll-free), 0389-2318336/ 0389-2323336, the statement said.

Any violation or failure to comply with the regulations will invite legal punishment under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, it said.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the council of ministers was held on Thursday to review the measures taken up by the state government in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga, who chaired the meeting, said that the government has allocated adequate funds required for prevention of the spread of coronavirus.

State health minister Dr R Lalthangliana also informed the meeting that efforts are on to procure coronavirus test kits.

He said that additional thermal scanners have been ordered to meet the requirement, adding that online system of Inner Line Permits (ILPs) has been temporarily suspended.

Temporary ILPs are being issued in case of exceptional cases, he added.

It was decided that the state museum will be closed for a temporary period.

The Lengpui tourist lodge and Zokhawthar village on Mizoram-Myanmar border have been designated isolation facilities.

The meeting further decided to set up a local or village council level task force to prevent the spread of the virus.

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