SHILLONG: Meghalaya Health Minister AL Hek has admitted that the State lacks quarantine centres and therefore is giving the returnees the option of home quarantine.
"We have below 1,000 rooms; where will we accommodate all of them. We have our limitations," Hek said.
On Saturday, the Health Minister said that in view of shortages of rooms for institutional quarantining, the government has sought the help of the various dorbar shnongs to let such returnees stay in schools and community centres during the quarantine period.
"The stranded citizens will be returning in thousands," he added.
It may be mentioned that the State government apart from its own institutions have also enlisted various hotels, guest houses and home stays as quarantine centres.
"But still these do not add up," Hek said.
It may be mentioned that earlier this week, Opposition leader Dr Mukul Sangma has expressed his doubts over home quarantining and whether those people will follow protocols.
Dr Sangma had said that quarantining of returnees to the State should be effectively enforced to ensure safety and not to be taken as a mere advisory of the government.
"Therefore, quarantine is an issue of enforcement and not just advisory," he had told reporters.
It may be mentioned that on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong informed that around 400 people who returned to Meghalaya from other parts of the country recently, had violated the self-quarantine protocols by venturing out and putting others at risk.
He said these citizens, who live in the Shillong city, were cautioned by health officials.
The home quarantine period for those coming from the states of the Northeastern region is 14 days.
Those who have returned from outside the region will have to remain quarantined for 14 days and then they will have to be under self-observation for another 28 days, he said.
At present, Meghalaya has one active COVID-19 case. One person died, while 11 others have recovered.