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Tuesday, 24 March 2020 - Imphal Times

We are now prepared, measures to assure safety of health service providers has been taken up – RIMS

IT News

Imphal, March 24

After a positive case of COVID -19 has been reported in Manipur, the authority of RIMS today convened a meeting and started a change in the strategy of providing all safety measures to health service providers at RIMS as well as prepares to provide treatment facilities to all affected people. This was stated by Director of RIMS , Dr. A Shanta in a telephonic conversation.

“As the state has confirmed case of COVID -19 we have set up new regulation for all our health service providers”, Dr. A Shanta said. He added that protective gears will be provided to all health service providers including nurses.

“All health service providers will be given protective gear which they have to change while attending the hospital and leave it while returning home”, Dr. Shanta said .

To provide medical treatment to any COVID-19 patient RIMS is ready with the isolation ward being opened. He said that 10 ventilators is arriving today and RIMS have collected enough hydroxychloroquine which is approved for the medication of patients. Moreover, RIMS has enough N 90 mask and will procure more if necessary, he added.

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NEFIS submits memorandum to Union Home Ministry in connection with racist attacks on people from North-East

IT News

Imphal, March 24

North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) has submitted a memorandum to Union Ministry of Home Affairs over the issue of racist attacks on people from the North-East India. It should be noted that in the times of Covid-19 outbreak, racist attacks on the people from the North-East have increased. There have been various incidents across the country in which specific people from the North-East have been targeted.

A recent attack happened in Delhi when a woman student from North-East studying at Delhi University had ventured out, along with a friend, to buy groceries in Vijay Nagar area of north Delhi. She alleged that a man riding a scooter spat on her and called her “corona”. The man spat all over her face, hair and T-shirt. The above mentioned incident is not just an isolated incident, but people from northeastern states of India, who are staying in Delhi, have alleged that they were being racially targeted after the outbreak of coronavirus. On March 3, two students from the northeast were attacked by six men near Delhi University's campus and called coronavirus. There have more such incidents across the country.

There are many people from North-East who have been stranded in various cities across the country and thus are prone to such racial attacks in times of panic due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We believe that these incidents are not just any other attack, but are rather racially motivated. In the memorandum, it was demanded that culprits found racially targeting people from North-East should be dealt with strongly. It was also demanded that the district administrations should be directed to not only ensure that the people from North-East are safe, but should take measures to ensure their well-being.

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Appeal to stop stigma and discrimination of COVID 19 +Positive  Friends.

IT News

Imphal, March 24

Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) expressed shocked over the comments and post in the social media which went viral since the morning with regard to the result of the Covid 19 +Positive of a 23 year old girl who is now under strict medical attention at JNIMS, Imphal.

“We would like to inform the masses that we have a deep fear that if such stigma and discrimination and victimisation continues than possible +Positive friends may not turn up to report due to the fear of facing the same”,  a statement said.

The Forum said that in the 1980’s and 1990’s during the peak hour of outbreak of HIV/AIDS in Manipur, there were large scale stigma and discrimination to the victims of HIV/AIDS as result of the same the frustrated victims intentionally did spread the disease through intentional sharing of syringe, or passing the same from male to female and female to male. On the other hand due to increase in stigma and discrimination the victim often losses mental stability and try to commit unwanted activities such as suicide and other anti social activities.

In order to avoid the same, it is high time to provide proper Psychosocial Support and counselling to avoid depression for those +Positive friends though they are kept in isolation. It is important to encourage the +Positive friends in such a way that they did what they could so as the virus is not spread to the people, the statement said and appealed the people to stop Stigmatizing and Discriminating the + Positive friends who are fighting hard for their lives. Further appeal the people to stay safe at home to save our future which is under threat due to this deadly Covid19.

 

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Chassad villagers call on CM

IT News

Imphal, March 24

A four-member team representing Chassad villagers met Chief Minister N. Biren Singh at Chief Minister's Secretariat today.

After patiently hearing their grievances, the Chief Minister assured the villagers that houses of all those whose houses were burnt would be built anew by the government. He also said that more relief materials including drinking water would be sent to the village soon. He also handed over some amount to the villagers for use in urgent needs.

Khurai AC MLA L. Susindro, who was also present during the meeting, also assured to provide all possible assistance from his side as well.

ADGP L. Kailun and Kamjong DC Smt. Kengu Zuringla were also present during the meeting.

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Jiribam: Interstate border closed; Imposed public curfew

IT News

Jiribam, March 24

 

To guard against the spread of Novel Coronavirus in the State, the inter-State border of Jiribam District was closed down till  March 31, 2020.

The shut down of the inter-State border was imposed as a preventive measure to counter COVID-19, as Jiribam District is the western border of Manipur which has inter-State boundary with Assam State.

There is much speculation about entering outsiders through the entry point.

Meanwhile, Addl. District Magistrate (in-charge), Jiribam S. Indrajit Singh has issued an order under Sub- Section 2 of Section 144 Cr. P.C, 1973 which prohibited the movement of any person outside their respective residence from 0800 hours of 24th March until further order. However, during prohibitory, the order shall not apply to government agencies involved in the enforcement of law and order and other essential services.

On the other hand, the District Administration of Jiribam is also mapping to set up Quarantine and isolation facilities at some specific location to counter and for prevention of the anticipated risk of the potential spread of deadly coronavirus in respect of Jiribam.

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COVID-19 death toll rises to 10 across the country, positive cases 492; Fourth death in Mumbai; Patients in Pune and Mumbai show sign of recovery

By - Raju Vernekar

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 10 with the death of a 65-year-old man( who had recently returned from UAE with his family) at a hospital in Mumbai, thus becoming fourth case in Maharashtra on Monday.

While 25 new cases were registered on Tuesday, the number of positive patients rose to 492. While the countrywide death toll stood as- Karnataka 1, Delhi 1, Maharashtra 4, Punjab 1, Bihar 1,  Gujarat 1 and West Bengal one. Total =10.

The 65 year old man had come to India on 15 March and was admitted to Kasturba Hospital on 23 March. He was suffering from respiratory ailments and was isolated. He passed away on Tuesday.

Similarly on Monday, in Maharashtra, four persons (two men, two women) from Islampura in Sangli district, who had returned from Haj pilgrimage, a fortnight back, tested positive. They have been admitted to Miraj Civil Hospital. Initially, they took local medical treatment and approached government medical authorities only when their ailment was aggravated. Why they were not quarantined earlier is being inquired by the district administration.

In another case, a 45 year old woman from Satara tested positive on Monday. She has been admitted to a local hospital and her condition was described as stable. She is also suffering from high blood pressure and cough. She was brought to the hospital on Sunday and was shifted immediately to isolation ward, District Civil Surgeon Dr. Amod Gadikar said. 

With the addition of 8 new patients, the tally of positive cases in Maharashtra stood as: 38 Mumbai, 16 Pune, 12 Pimpri Chinchwad, 5 Navi Mumbai, 4 Kalyan, 4 Nagpur and 4 Yavatmal, 4 Sangli, 2 Ahmednagar, 2 Thane, 1 Satara,1 Panvel, 1 Ulhasnagar, 1 Aurangabad, 1 Ratnagiri and 1 Vasai Virar =97.

 

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said as of now 6 labs have been set up and from 27 March, a lab in every medical college will be set up so that the testing of swabs could be done faster. He also forewarned that there could be shortage of blood supply so that the donors should come forward to donate the blood. But the donors should not come in groups, to avoid probable spread of infection. The central government is also considering to allow private hospitals to carry out coronavirus tests, he added.

  

In another major development the first Covid 19 patient in Maharashtra, admitted to Naidu Hospital in Pune and 12 patients admitted to the Kasturba hospital have recovered and they will be discharged soon.

 

In the meanwhile the police have seized masks costing Rs 15 crore being sold in black market, and have arrested four persons. Besides, action has been taken against 122 people for violating a curfew imposed under section 144 CrPC.

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Government’s Measures Against Corona and First Case in Manipur

Till now the state government has taken up good measures to deal with the ongoing crisis which is unfolding. In order to stop the spread of the disease in the state, it has closed down all the gates of the international borders, malls, cinema halls, tourist spots, public transportation and all the market places. It has imposed restrictions on the gathering of more than four people.   The private and government are closed down except the essential services such as Health Department,   GAD, District Administration, Health, Fire Services, Prisons, Power, PHED, Municipalities, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, NIC, both State and District Units. It has also stated that banks and ATM will remain open. Print and electronic media, IT and ITes including postal and internet services, hospital, Optical stores, Diagnostic Centres, Pharmacies, takeaway and home delivery restaurants are also allowed during this lockdown. The order mentions that any person found violating will be persecuted under section 188, 269, 27O, 271 IPC.  These sections are on violation of order promulgated by the government, negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease and knowingly disobeying any quarantine rules.  The order will remain in force till March 31. The governor has issued an order reiterating these restrictions yesterday. She reiterates the “all persons who were abroad during January or February, 2O2O shall furnish their particulars and travel history to the notified agencies on or before March 24.” 

The spokesperson of the government Thongam Biswajit also stated that the cabinet has decided that the lockdown will continue till March 31. The cabinet decision taken after due deliberation on the matter stated that “the medical department will overlook home quarantine system.” And, JNIMS and RIMS will be utilized for isolation ward. In a good move, which will provide due relief to the poor and needy of this state, the cabinet decided “to distribute rice meant for April under the National Food Security Act this month free of cost” and “beneficiaries of Chief Minister’s Hakshel gi Tengbang who do not possess NFSA card will also avail free rice.”  These measures imposed by the government till now are commendable.

While all these measures were taken up, a case was discovered today. The person now is in the isolation ward of JNIMS where the state doctors are conducting her treatment. This should trigger a chain of strict quarantine measures for those who came in contact with the person during her travel and her stay up till now. After this development, district magistrates have announced curfew and people have been instructed to stay indoors. Now all forms of public movement and public assembly is restricted as ordered in the state.  Given this development, the preparation must change given that our earlier assumption was that there are no cases given that we have not discovered any case up till now. Now that we have discovered a case, more testing is now required. The slogan “test, test and test” that most countries which are fighting this disease have must also be implemented in Manipur. Further, it is our collective responsibility the aged people and young ones of this society, who are the most vulnerable, must be cared for. For them, we need to follow these strict regulations so that we can overcome the spread of this deadly virus in this state.

Covid 19 Pandemic – Is a Trailer of holocaust of the Biological Weapon?

By - Dr. Sapam Dilipkumar

People across the world is trembling with fear for death in the widespread attack by a deadly micro-organism called CORONA VIRUS which spreads more than 185 countries across the world within a short span of three months claiming the precious lives of thousands of people and infected more than 3 lakh people across the globe. When this article was written it is reported that Italy, China and Iran have lost thousands of lives because of this pandemic disease. It is further reported that the number of positive people has also been increasing in India in the last couple of days with the number of the death toll to 7 (seven). In order to cope with the deadly disease in many states of India including Manipur, the government has declared lockdown as precautionary measures. In such a situation, scientists have been burning the midnight oil for inventing a medicine for combating the disease; however, no one can invent it till now. Considering the magnitude of the spread, the WHO declared the disease as a pandemic.

There is also confusion over the question of how this deadly disease outbreaks in Hubei city of China. However, there are three basic assumptions on the origin of the virus. They are: - (i) it originates from animals and transmitted to human beings;(ii) it is created as a biological weapon in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Hubei in China and escapes from it and spreads like wildfire; and (iii) it is brought by the American military in China and spreads almost all countries of the world. It seems that assumption (i) is general perception of the origin of the virus. What is more interesting is the assumption (ii) and (iii) which require close examination from international humanitarian law perspective. People have seen many claims and counterclaims of both USA and China over the outbreak of coronavirus in the newspapers. It may be a secret war between two powerful and rich nations for domination. Another conspiracy theory may be the involvement of a third party like Russia who has done advanced research in the manufacturing and production of biological weapon for increasing mistrust between China and USA. Such theory may be substantiated by the Russian cyber operation conducted during American Presidential Election, 2016 where the Democrate candidate Hillary Clinton was indiscriminately attacked in cyberspace resulting in unexpected defeat.

After the collapse of the USSR, it is claimed that there is no ideological war in the world. Francis Fukuyama wrote his famous book “The End of History and the Last Man” to prove this thesis. However, in this century, nations witness raising conflict between the richest and strongest country of the world, USA and China-world fastest-growing communist country, in all fronts. Having adequate military power and equipment is one of the basic necessities for all nations, irrespective of its size and population, for preserving and protecting its territorial integrity and political independence. International law, developed under the UN system, recognises the inherent right to self-defence which legitimise even the use of military force by attacked nation.

War begins in the mind of man. History tells us that war is as old as human society and has been employed by the nation-states as an effective method for domination as well as means of settlement of disputes. It is true that victory and defeat in the war depend largely on the strength of the military which is again relied on weapon and tactics of war. For instance, Kangleipak Manipur Kingdom could command its power for centuries by dint of Arambai weapon. On the other hand, Kangleipak Manipur has lost in the Battle of Khongjom because the weapon of the British Army was far more advanced than the forces of Kangleipak Manipur.

 

Man has used poisons for assassination purposes ever since the dawn of civilization, not only against individual enemies but also occasionally against armies. There were many instances of war in human history where enemies were targeted by weapons other than conventional weapons. Emperor Barbarossa poisoned water wells with human bodies, Tortona, Italy in 1155; British distributed blankets from smallpox patients to native Americans in 1763; Napoleon flooded the plains around Mantua, Italy, to enhance the spread of malaria in 1797 and During the Second World War, the Japanese army poisoned more than 1,000 water wells in Chinese villages to study cholera and typhus outbreaks. The German army was the first to use weapons of mass destruction, both biological and chemical, during the First World War, although their attacks with biological weapons were on a rather small scale and were not particularly successful. Covert operations conducted by using both anthrax and glanders attempting to infect animals directly or to contaminate animal feed in several of their enemy countries. During the Korean War, the Chinese, North Koreans and Soviets accused the USA of deploying biological weapons of various kinds. The conspiracy theory that HIV is a biological weapon is still alive in some people’s minds. Depending on whom one asks, KGB or CIA scientists developed HIV to damage the USA or to destabilize Cuba, respectively.

 The foundation of microbiology laid by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch offered new prospects for those interested in biological weapons because it allowed agents to be chosen and designed on a rational basis. These dangers were soon recognized, and resulted in two International Declarations—in 1874 in Brussels and in 1899 in The Hague—that prohibited the use of poisoned weapons. Realising the threat posed on humanity by the manufacturing, production and stockpiling of biological weapon in the world, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC), 1972 which came into force in 1975. It further improved the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare,1925.The Convention is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.

The Convention contains XV articles. Article I of convention prohibits states party to the convention to develop produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:

(i) microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;

(ii)    weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

The Article expressly refrains the state parties from using such weapon of mass destruction not only in armed conflict but also for hostile purposes. The Convention, in Article III, further stipulates that state parties undertake not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly, and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any State, group of States or international organisations to manufacture or otherwise acquire any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of delivery specified in Article I of the Convention. Article VI of the Convention recognises the right of a state party to lodge complaint against any other state party who is acting in breach of obligations provided in the provisions of the Convention, with the Security Council of the United Nations. Such a complaint should include all possible evidence confirming its validity, as well as a request for its consideration by the Security Council. Cuba officially filed a complaint under BWC, accusing the USA of releasing a plant pathogen. Although this was never proven, the USA did indeed look into biological agents to kill Fidel Castro and Frederick Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the Second and Third Review Conference on the BWC held in 1986 and 1991 respectively, the state parties agreed to undertook to provide annual reports on specific activities related to the BWC including data on research centers and laboratories; information on vaccine production facilities; information on national biological defence research and development programmes; declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes; information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins; publication of results and promotion of the use of knowledge and contacts; information on legislation, regulations and other measures.

War has never been unregulated activity of states or nonstate entities engaged in hostility to weaken and defeat the enemy. That war is regulated by the customary rules, from time immemorial, finds its testimonies in China, India and Greek civilizations. Even in small civilization of Kangleipak Manipur has developed such custom and practices which is recorded in Chainarol Puya. In due course of time, international community has started codification of law relating to war by incorporating customary rules and practices developed through ages along with new rules concerning with protection of person who are not, and no longer taking part in hostility and laying down means and method of warfare. The Hague Regulations 1899 and 1908, Geneva Conventions, 1949 and the Additional Protocols to Geneva Conventions, 1977 constitutes the core international conventions and agreements which lays down rule of international humanitarian law(IHL). The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapon, 1966 observed that the cardinal principle contained in the text of IHL are that :

  • It aimed at the protection of the civilian population and civilian objects and establishes the distinction between combatants and non- combatants ; state must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets;
  • It is prohibited to cause unnecessary suffering to combatants; accordingly, it is prohibited to use weapons causing them such harm or uselessly aggravating their suffering.

The ICJ further explained the second principle and stated that in application of it, states do not have unlimited freedom of choice of means in the weapons they use. Biological weapon having widespread and long term effect failed to pass in the acid test of both principles. Corona virus knows no national boundary, no discrimination on the ground of race, sex, religion, place of birth etc., no friend and no enemy. The number of infected and affected people has been increasing exponentially threatening the life of mankind. Breach of obligation under international law and violation of the provisions of IHL constitutes commission of war crime, crime against humanity, crime of aggression and breach of peace.  

Although, International law is less effective in implementation, it would be wrong to assume that rule of international law has no binding effect. International criminal jurisprudence emerged after Nuremberg Trial culminated in the establishment of the International Criminal Court under the Rome Statute, 1998, criminalises even individuals who commit war crimes, crime of aggression, breach of peace and crime against humanity. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), 1994 and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY),1993 established under UN Charter tried and indicted even high profile officials for  violating provisions of IHL which constitute war crime and crime against humanity. If Corona virus was produced in the laboratory in China as biological weapon, and subsequently escaped or if USA brought and used it in China as biological weapon, both countries violate the provisions of Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC), 1972 for which UN Security Council may investigate and initiate proceedings against the delinquent state provided a complaint is lodged against such states. Moreover, being permanent members of the UN Security Council and as guardian of international law including IHL, both states must fulfil international treaty obligations. Breach of  obligation may result in holocaust of war which may lead to the path of extinction of mankind from the earth.

 

First COVID-19 case in Manipur confirmed; Curfew imposed in Imphal West & East District

IT News
Imphal, March 24

First COVID-19 case was confirmed today in Manipur today early morning. According to a test report which was issued by Department of Microbiology, JNIMS, the patient from an area in Imphal West is under isolation at JNIMS as soon as the result of the test return positive.
According to a source from JNIMS, treatment for the patient has already started as soon as the result came positive for COVID-19 and as of now the condition of the patient is in stable condition. This is the first serological test being done and a test remains to be done, wherein samples are sent to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It is worth mentioning that a case was detected in Assam where a 4 and half years old was said to be positive but later on results coming from ICMR turns out to be negative.
After the patient which has a travel history of returning from the UK to Imphal via Kolkata on 21st March came positive, the whole locality of the patient has been put under strict lockdown by the Police. Authorities of Imphal West and East have clamped Curfew in whole of the twin district from today morning. Further, contact tracing is in progress for anyone who was in contact with the said patient.
A press release by the Directorate of Health Services, Manipur appeal anyone whoever was in contact with the patient to inform the said Directorate at Phone numbers 9402880191, 0385 2411668 or 18003453818 and to start self isolation immediately.

Social Media is abuzz with this whole new development and users are starting to troll the patient, questioning about her decision to hide the facts and travelling back to Imphal. Also, questions are being asked, how come a positive individual managed to escape the scanning facilities at the airport and other entry points.
Team Imphal Times would like to appeal to everyone to stay at their home and to not believe any rumours whichever is being circulated on Social Media.

10:40 am : Different localities in Greater Imphal started locking down their locality voluntarily.

11:10 am : Curfew imposed in whole of Thoubal District with immediate effect.

11:55 am : It has been confirmed that the positive patient came to Imphal through Air-route. Information about the patient coming to Imphal by land route via Guwahati to Imphal by Bus is false.

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