New Delhi, Oct 7 (PTI) Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday lauded the northeastern (NE) states for better management of the coronavirus pandemic and said five out of eight states of the region had remained COVID-19-free during the lockdown period.
He said that positive cases began to appear in these states only after the movement of people allowed.
Singh also said sufficient supply of oxygen had been made available well in advance to all peripheral territories, including northeastern states and the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
'There was better COVID management in the northeastern states and the good work done by the state governments as well as the civil society was appreciated by all quarters,' he said when Meghalaya Health Minister A L Hek called on him here to discuss various issues related to the pandemic.
Singh, the Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), said the countrywide surveys conducted by impartial agencies have also testified this.
He appreciated Meghalaya and other state governments for having taken proactive steps from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to break the transmission chain and strengthen the existing health systems to meet any surge in cases.
The minister said it is not a small achievement that during the lockdown period, five out of eight northeastern states remained corona-free and corona positive cases began to appear only after the movement of people when relaxation was given.
Singh noted that just as the Northeast has emerged as a model of development in the last six years, it has emerged as a model for effective coronavirus management in the last six months.
He said while the Ministry of DoNER has provided an initial support of Rs 25 crore to the states of the region as a preemptive move even before the lockdown, the state governments were also prompt in initiating early effective measures.
In this regard, he referred to the proposals from at least three northeastern states to set up infectious diseases hospitals as a futuristic step to meet any such epidemic in future.
The minister said the effective arrangement and operation of ventilators ensured that there was not a single complaint from the Northeast of any patient having suffered due to lack of oxygen.
Singh also lauded the role of civil society, particularly the women self help groups, which worked round the clock in the early phase of the lockdown to ensure that face masks were available in sufficient numbers and in different varieties and designs. PTI ACB SMN