Manipur was placed under a lockdown with immediate effect till March 31 in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, state minister Thongam Biswajit Singh announced on Monday.
Essential services, however, have been exempted from the purview of the lockdown. The decision was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet, the industries minister said.
The cabinet also decided to set up isolation wards at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) and the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), Singh said.
The government has decided to distribute rice, meant for April under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), free of cost to support the needy during the lockdown. Beneficiaries of the Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang health insurance scheme who do not possess the NFSA card will also be given free rice, he said.
Singh, the official spokesperson of the government, said the spread of the deadly COVID-19 could be prevented only if guidelines issued by the experts were followed. He urged the people not to hide any signs and symptoms of the new coronavirus.
"Let us together fight COVID-19 and not allow our negligence to hinder our fight against it," the minister said. "Let us maintain proper hygiene, wash our hands regularly and maintain social distance to defeat COVID-19.
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