In a shocking incident, video clips of quarantine centre (QC) inmates in Churachandpur district, Manipur, close-dancing and partying without social distancing has emerged. The videos are going viral on social media.
The video clips were apparently taken at a QC located on the premises of the Bimala Raina Government High School in Chiengkonpang area in the district headquarters. The QC is located in the vicinity of the District Collectorate.
Grace Zamnu, Member District Council (MDC), Singnat division, Churachandpur, said the incident was worrying. “We understand the inmates can be bored or feel restricted, but dancing closely is unnecessary. All rules and regulations for resticting the spread of coronavirus must be followed.”
Dr. Sadana Ningthoujam, who works with the State Health Directorate, after viewing the clips, said, “They are not following the guidelines. There is no social distancing. They are risking themselves. The government and concerned departments should look into this matter seriously.”
Pawan Yadav, District Commissioner, Churachandpur, said, “This matter will be investigated closely. I am personally travelling to community QC to ensure norms are being followed. Over 3,000 people have returned to the district from elsewhere in the country. We have set up 80 QC to take them in safely. All Sub-Division Officers (SDO) are being trained to handle the situation in their respective jurisdictions.”
‘We want change’
Zambia said she and others are camping in State capital Imphal to demand to replace the incumbent chairman of the ADC for Churachandpur. “The government is not taking MDCs into confidence while chalking out the plan for fighting the pandemic. MDCs are the grassroots representatives. We feel this current set-up isn’t being impartial. There is too much politics surrounding this. Each tribe wants to do it their own way. This is not the time for differences and politics. We’re facing a real threat to public health.”
The visitors’ enclosure at a quarantine centre
Speaking on the developing issue on the district’s COVID response, a QC centre volunteer who requested anonymity said due to tribe considerations visitors have to be allowed in the QC. These visits are facilitated by setting up a separate visitor’s enclosure to not violate the social distancing norm of the WHO. He added that such care may not be followed by the other QCs in the district. Another worrying complaint conveyed by a parent of a current inmate alleges there are seven beds to a room in some QCs which violate distancing norms.
As of now Churachandpur is leading the COVID infection rate in the state. Sadly the district is lax in terms of COVID prevention measures like flouting the mandatory face mask and social distancing.