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German doctor stuck in Shillong writes to Meghalaya CM, expresses desire to help

The Meghalaya government has set up isolation centres in Shillong and Tura.

PTI | New Delhi |

A medical practitioner from Germany who got stuck in Shillong due to the nationwide lockdown, has written to Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma informing him about her willingness to serve people in case of coronavirus outbreak in the state, officials said Sunday.

Dr Marie Kerkloh and her husband Benno were on a world tour on their bicycles, and they arrived at a village in West Khasi Hills district on March 2 to work as volunteers at a school run by an Australian couple.

But it was shut down by the authorities due to COVID-19 outbreak in the country, they said.

“Since I had served as a doctor at a hospital in my country, I think it will be great to get to volunteer and help the people in this part of the world, in case of an outbreak here,” Dr Marie Kerkloh told PTI.

Therefore she wrote to the chief minister, she said, adding that now she is waiting for his response in this regard. The doctor quit her job as she wanted to travel around the world.

The couple started cycling from Germany in June last year and pedalled across Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal.

They pedalled to back to India after visiting Nepal. Dr Kerkloh said she plans to go to more countries, explore and experience the different culture of the people living in those countries. They are currently staying in an apartment along with two other cyclists who also got stuck due to the lockdown.

The Meghalaya government has set up isolation centres in Shillong and Tura. If required, the isolation centres in Shillong can admit 200 people, while the isolation centres in Tura can handle 300 people.

Though Meghalaya has not reported any single case of COVID-19 till date, hundreds of volunteers, nurses, doctors, human managers and volunteers have registered with the government agencies to assist the government in case anyone is found to be infected with the virus.

Over 7,000 people who returned to the state ahead of the lockdown, have been placed under home quarantine, and over 40 samples collected from suspected patients have tested negative, a senior health department official said.