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The Tripura government has invoked the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) after a group of nurses at a state–run hospital here complained about shortage of masks and other protective equipment in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Tripura is the second state after Madhya Pradesh to have enforced the Act of 1986, which gives the police the right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the ESMA‘s provisions.
18 nurses have been served show cause notices for their non–cooperation. Since last two days agitating staff nurses have demanding N–95 masks and quality gloves and PPEs who are attending Covid–19 patient
On Thursday evening, the secretary to the health department of Tripura state told the reporters that 18 nurses have been served show cause notices for their non–cooperation. Since last two days agitating staff nurses have demanding N–95 masks and quality gloves and PPEs who are attending Covid–19 patient.
Under this act, employees in a long list of “essential services” like post and telegraph, railway, airport and port operations are prohibited from going on strike.
The decision to invoke the Act came shortly after Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb warned that strict action would be taken against the nurses who complained to the media about a shortage of masks and other protective equipment at the state–run GB Pant Hospital here.
Today reviewed the latest COVID19 situation & preparedness along with Health officials in GBP Hospital.
Inspected the stock of necessary medical equipment’s our preparations are in place to deal with any eventuality & our dedicated medical teams are working round the clock. pic.twitter.com/tf2uhmPJu8
— Biplab Kumar Deb (@BjpBiplab) April 9, 2020
“In order to better manage the COVID–19 outbreak in the interest of citizens, from today the government has implemented the Essential Services Management Act with immediate effect in Tripura,” Deb said late on Thursday night.
The Act mandates imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or fine which may extend to Rs 1,000, or with both, to any person who instigates a strike which is illegal under this Act.
Health Secretary Debashish Basu told reporters that show–cause notices were issued against the 18 nurses of GB Pant Hospital here.
The chief minister said the state government has decided that officials of secretary level and above would only be allowed to interact with the media to check misinformation.
Deb said the states lone patient is recovering and he hoped she would recuperate soon.
According to official data, 985 persons are now in isolation in Tripura and of them, 829 are in home quarantine and 156 in state–run facilities. A total of 10467 persons were kept under surveillance since the outbreak. Among them, 274 were tested for the disease.
Chief Minister Deb twitted one more Covid–19 positive case in Tripura has been confirmed, taking the total number to two. The second covid positive patient is a 32 years old male from Madhya Pradesh and currently staying at Damcherra and has travelled along with the last Covid–19 positive patient in train.
In north Tripura, Unokoti District Hospital MS Jodu Mohan Tripura alleges, medical protective gears are not available in this hospital. ■
Video Credit | Raju Deb