The Mizoram government has decided not to allow paramilitary personnel enter the state till August 15 in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases among the forces, an official said on Tuesday. The decision was taken at a meeting between officials of the state government and the paramilitary forces on Monday, he said.
It was agreed at the meeting, which was chaired by Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, that a decision on allowing the security personnel to enter the state would be taken after August 15 based on the prevailing coronavirus situation, the official said.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to temporarily withhold inter-state movement of all paramilitary personnel during this month to contain further spread of COVID-19 in the state.
In a letter addressed to Modi on Monday, Zoramthanga said that the state government has been making massive efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus in the state since February in spite of its enormous economic and financial challenges.
However, the main hurdle the state is facing in its efforts is the unrestricted movement of paramilitary forces, the chief minister said.
He said that daily statistics of new COVID-19 cases reported in the state indicates that the majority of new cases are detected among the paramilitary.
Zoramthanga also mentioned in his letter that the state government has written several times to the heads of the paramilitary forces in the state to curtail avoidable movement of their personnel and to restrict inter-state travel.
However, from my reading of the records maintained by the state government, it appears to me that the paramilitary forces are going about their deployments and leave sanctions as if it is business as usual, he said.
Zoramthanga said he had been informed that incoming personnel were freely roaming in public places and were using public amenities such as banks, ATMs and visiting marketplaces, which caused panic and unrest in the state.
Considering the COVID-19 tally of the paramilitary forces, I am extremely perturbed about the propensity of the paramilitary forces turning out to be super-spreaders of COVID-19 in the State and therefore, I seek your kind intervention in issuing suitable orders, Zoramthanga said in his letter.
Mizoram reported 22 more cases of COVID-19, taking the state's tally to 504.
Among the new cases are seven security personnel, according to the state health department.
So far, 249 security personnel and NDRF staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, as per the department.There are 222 active cases in the state while 282 people have already recovered. Mizoram shares international borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.