Sikkim to quarantine home-returnees in Siliguri: CM

Home-bound Sikkim people to be quarantined in West Bengal's Siliguri amid coronavirus lockdown: CM Prem Singh Tamang

Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Thursday said stranded people of Sikkim on their way home would be quarantined in Siliguri in neighbouring West Bengal for 14 days before they are allowed to enter the state.

The government will facilitate the return of all people stuck outside the state following the guidelines of the Centre, he said.

"All home-bound people will be put through screening for COVID-19 in Siliguri, West Bengal, and quarantined there for 14 days before being allowed to travel back to Sikkim," Tamang said in a video message.

However, it is not yet clear whether or not the Sikkim government has made an arrangement in this regard with the authorities of West Bengal.

"The returnees will be put in isolation at various facilities such as hotels and schools to be arranged by the government before they are allowed to go to their homes," the chief minister said.

With lakhs of migrant workers and students stranded at various places for over a month due to the nationwide lockdown, the Centre had on Wednesday announced plans to allow their movement to help them reach their homes, including by crossing state borders.

The patients and their companions or family members will be given "first preference" to facilitate their return to Sikkim, Tamang said.

The students, stranded in various states, will also be allowed to travel back to Sikkim, the chief minister said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary S.C. Gupta presided over the State Level Task Force meeting to review the action plan in line with the new guidelines issued by the Centre.

He said the state government has appointed Ringzing Bhutia, Secretary, Coordination (Covid-19), as the State Nodal Officer to coordinate with other states to facilitate the return of people stuck outside Sikkim.

An online registration portal has already been prepared for the purpose, an official said.

No COVID-19 case has so far been reported from the state.