DC East directs home quarantine to 8 journalists
Gangtok, July 22: With journalists and news reporters risking their lives to bring stories to the people during the COVID-19, it is impossible to dismiss the chances of them contracting the virus since they are constantly exposed to people, both general citizens and high level authorities.
Eight Sikkimese journalists have been ordered by the East District Collector, IAS Raj Yadav to remain in home quarantine after it was found that they had attended a press conference at Sikkim Republican Party’s President K. B. Rai’s residence today since one of the family member’s of the SRP President was a primary contact of a COVID-19 positive person.
Nirmal Mangar, the Editor-in-Chief of Sikkim Chronicle is one of the eight who have now been advised to remain isolated at their home. “Although we did not intermingle with anybody at the residence, it was only after we returned back from it that DC discovered we had been to K. B. Rai’s residence and then he advised home quarantine,” he states.
K.B. Rai issued a press statement soon after. The following is his statement:
This is to inform the general public that there is malicious and misinforming propaganda being circulated in some social media regarding me and my family members and the media members by alleging us to have breached the Covid-19 Protocol. I would like to sincerely clarify regarding this Matter as follows:
1) That there had been a primary contact of one of my family members with a COVID positive patient unknowingly, for which we had voluntarily informed the concerned Department and accordingly THE TRAVELLERS SCREENING FORM was filled and the ANTIGEN DETECTION TEST was immediately carried out. The test has clearly Shown the result as “NEGATIVE”.
The copy of the result is attached herewith.
2) Therefore there is no Direction in written or verbal form from any authority for HOME QUARANTINE for me and my family.
3) However, in order to maintain SOCIAL DISTANCING, the Conference of today was not Live with the media persons. The video was recorded and prepared and the media persons were later on
submitted with the recorded version.
4) Therefore, the Order given to the media persons for Home Quarantine by the Authority has been given without proper study and information of the case history.
I strongly condemn this irresponsible Act of the Authority and say that the said ORDER has no substance. I and the media persons are being cornered without any substantial proof of breaching the COVID-19 protocol. The NEGATIVE result of one of my family members who had been in primary contact itself is the proof for the invalidity of the allegation and the proof of Faulty Order given by the concerned Authority.
5) For any further Clarifications and information, any Authority or Person can Contact me at 695515759 or 9932350702.
K. B. Rai
Sikkim Republican Party.
Although Rai has stated that proper protocol was followed, maintaining social distancing, the knowledge of the primary contact being in close premises to the journalists makes the entire incident apprehensive.
The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha was quick to send out a press release on the issue, alleging that the SRP’s action was irresponsible and questioned if he really cared about the general public’s safety.