CM connects with people on Facebook; Details govt’s preparedness for COVID-19

Gangtok, 29 Mar [IPR]: Chief Minister PS Tamang [Golay] took to his official Facebook page today and posted a video message to the people of Sikkim and detailed steps taken by the State Government to keep Novel Coronavirus at bay and the State’s preparedness in case of any exigency.

Following are highlights of his address:

1. Covid-19 is a global pandemic and the entire country is in a state of lock-down since the midnight of 24th March, 2020. Not only India, most of the countries in the world are going through similar crisis and have enforced severe restrictions on movement of people within and outside the territory. With this in view, the people of Sikkim should abide by the single most effective way of prevention of Covid-19, that is, by staying home and ensuring social distancing.

2. The Government understands that people are undergoing hardships and severe challenges due to lock-down. However, nothing comes above human life and safety, hence social distancing for now is the only available solution to prevent the spread of the Virus. It is therefore imperative that all government guidelines and orders are followed in letter and spirit and social distancing is maintained.

3. The people of Sikkim did exceptionally well to follow ‘Junta Curfew’ last Sunday (the 22nd of March), and people are sincerely following the lock-down order, except a few cases where people are seen flouting the order.

4. The service being rendered by the entire medical fraternity, police, Government officers, District Collectors and their team, and NGOs is highly commendable.

5. The State Government is fully prepared to fight the epidemic. People should not pay heed to different opinions floating in the digital media, and repose their trust on the Government. The Government was alert enough to perceive a certain threat from the deadly virus as early as 27th January, 2020. The Health Department was immediately directed to start the screening at the inter-State and international borders, and the same started from 28th March, 2020 in two borders. Sikkim was perhaps the first State to initiate action against Covid-19, much before any other State.

6. Precautionary measures were enforced such as restriction on foreign and domestic tourists, sealing of two check-posts in West Sikkim, and suspension of trade through Nathu La border. Only two chech-posts, namely Rangpo and Melli were open for transportation of men and material, and thorough screening was initiated in these two check points.

7. The State of Sikkim is fully prepared medically to deal with any situation that may arise due to the spread of Covid-19.

The State has a fully equipped 166-bedded Isolation facility in STNM Hospital Sochakgang, 20-bedded Isolation facility in CRH Manipal, 5-bedded Isolation facility in Ayush Hospital, Gyalshing, and 41-bedded Isolation facility in Army Hospital, Libing.

Likewise, there are 55 ventilator units (38 for adults and 17 for children) in STNM Hospital Sochakgang, 2 units in CRH Manipal, and 2 units in Army Hospital, Libing.

Similarly, STNM Hospital Sochakgang has 8 ICU Units, and the Government will come up with more ICU units in days to come.

8. The Government has established Quarantine facilities in the following places:

i. SIRD Karfectar, South Sikkim – 20 bedded facility. SDM Jorethang, Shri R.B. Bhandari has been designated as the in-charge of the quarantine facility and he can be contacted on his mobile number 9832014743.

ii. Mines and Geology infrastructure in Mining near Rangpo – 25 bedded facility. Dr. Nagendra Gurung (ph: 8348148999), and Dr. Diki Wangmu (ph: 9735985733) are designated the in-charges of the facility.

iii. Power Guest House, Naya Bazar – as a stand-by arrangement. SDM Shri Hemant (9832556777) has been designated the in-charge.

iv. New Tourist Guest House/Lodge, Rangpo – 16 bedded facility. Dr Nagendra Gurung and Dr. Diki Wangmu will be in-charge of the facility.

v. SICUN Training Centre, Assam Lingzey – 48 bedded facility, to be supervised by Dr. Nagendra Gurung and Dr. Diki Wangmu. The 58 students who were studying in different parts of the country and were brought back by the Government are currently kept in this quarantine centre with all necessary facilities. They will be sent back to their homes after completing quarantine for 15 days. The entire expenses is being borne by the Government.

9. The State Government is fully equipped logistically to tackle the pandemic. The following is the details of the logistics available with the Government:

i. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – 1220 numbers is available to be used when the need arises.

ii. N95 Masks – 1067 available.

iii. Triple Layer Masks – 96100. The Government is in touch with various agencies in the country to procure more Masks as per the requirement.

iv. Gloves (Non-Sterile) – 13600

v. Gloves (Sterile) – 5000

vi. Viral Transport Media (VTM) – 300. One VTM unit can transport 50 test samples. Therefore, 300 units can transport 15000 samples for test, which is adequate.

vii. Hand Sanitizers, Gloves, Masks and other such items are actually meant for the Health fraternity and frontline workers, therefore priority should be given to them.

10. The Government is fully equipped with regard to food grains and other essential commodities. The present stock in the food go-downs in the State is enough to feed the entire population of Sikkim for three months. North Sikkim has 273.9 metric tonnes of Food Grains: East District has 1017 MT; South District has 581.2 MT; West District has 666.9 MT

Therefore, the total quantity of food grains available with the State is 2539 Metric Tonnes.

11. Students and working professionals from Sikkim who are still stranded in different parts of the country are advised to stay put wherever they are. The Government is in touch with the respective State Heads and the administration, as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to ensure that they receive the required facilities. Some financial incentive from the Government of Sikkim will also be provided to such students to help them sustain this difficult time. The Chief Minister’s Office, the office of the Chief Secretary, DC offices, health Department, and all essential services are fully functional in the State to ensure that all required service to provided to the people, both within and outside the State.

12. The State Government is fully prepared. What is needed at this stage is support and cooperation from the people of Sikkim. People should strictly abide by all the directives being issues by the Government to prevent the virus from entering the State. There should be no room for any negligence on the part of the people. We just have to follow the simple instruction to stay home and observe social distancing. People of Sikkim are law-abiding and their support is solicited during this difficult time.

13. The Government has announced economic package for the economically-weaker section, regardless of their identity credentials. This is an immediate relief being provided to the needy, especially daily wage workers and migrant labourers who are severely hit by the lock-down. The economic package also applies to workers of Temi Tea factory, and also to the workers who work on the roads. The economic package does not apply to regular Government employees, and employees working on Adhoc, Consolidated, Work Charge, MR or OFOJ employees, as they would be getting their monthly salaries to support themselves.

14. The gesture by some house owners to waive off the house rent of tenants who are daily-wage earners is commendable and praiseworthy.

15. Anyone willing to contribute to the CM’s Relief Fund voluntarily are welcome. Regular Government employees can voluntarily contribute their one-day salary. It is just a suggestion and there is no binding.

Likewise, individuals or organizations, public representatives can voluntarily contribute to the Prime Minister’s Care Fund to tackle the current situation faced by the country.

The Chief Minister also answered some of the questions put forth by people from different parts of the State. Most of the questions were on the State’s preparedness and measures taken by the State Government to address the challenges being faced by the people due to the nation-wide lockdown of 21 days.

The Chief Minister informed that he would regularly use this medium to connect with the people and share the latest updates and actions being taken by the State Government.