The Arunachal Pradesh government has extended the total lockdown in the Capital Complex for another two weeks in the wake of the spurt in COVID-19 cases in the region, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar announced on Sunday. The restrictions, which were imposed till Monday evening, have been extended till 5 am on August 3, he said addressing a virtual press conference.
The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Pema Khandu took the decision on Friday after reviewing the scenario in the capital region, he added.
Kumar said the reason it was extended for two more weeks was the surge in COVID-19 cases.
"The district administration needs more time to control the local transmission by undertaking antigen tests on all primary and secondary contacts of the COVID-19 patients, he said, justifying the extension.
The chief secretary said no movement of people and vehicles, other than those of essential services, will be allowed during the period.
The district administration will ensure home delivery of essential items. Grocery stores in sectors and colonies will be allowed to open, he said.
Important government offices would also remain open during the period, Kumar said.
The state government has already constituted 20 medical teams which would visit various localities of the capital region for rapid antigen tests, he said.
In the next two weeks, we will try to contain the spread of the virus in the capital region. We will undertake extensive antigen tests so that a large section of people could be covered, Kumar said, adding that in other districts the situation is under control.
The surveillance process would be supervised by the District Medical Officer (DMO) under the guidance of the Health Secretary and the Director of Health Services. The exercise will be monitored by the capital administration along with the Superintendent of Police (SP).
The chief secretary further stated that since the Centre has extended the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) for another five months, the state government has decided to mandatorily test drivers coming in to deliver essentials under the scheme.
Vehicles supplying essentials to the state will be allowed to enter only when the drivers and others are found to be negative after conducting the antigen tests at the check gates. We have sufficient antigen test kits at the entry gates, Kumar said.
All the personnel of police and paramilitary forces coming to the state from other parts of the country would also have to undergo mandatory antigen tests, he said.
The MLA apartment at Chimpu near here has been developed as a COVID Care Centre, while a dedicated COVID Centre would be opened at Midpu by the end of this month.
Medicines are adequately available in the state along with other equipment, including PPE kits, hand gloves and face masks, the chief secretary said in reply to a question.
The chief secretary appealed to the people to follow the guidelines and to cooperate with the administration and police.
Health Secretary P Parthiban, who was also present in the press conference, said that 2,706 antigen tests have been done in Capital Complex in the past two weeks and 131 cases were detected.
"We are planning to set up 26 labs where tests for COVID-19 can be done via TrueNAT machines. We have so far received 14 machines of the 26 ordered. Seven of them were installed in Tawang, Bomdila, Roing, Pasighat, Khonsa, Longding and Changlang. Another seven will be installed within the next week in other districts," Parthiban said.
The state has so far detected 650 cases of COVID-19. Of them, 373 are active, while 274 people have recovered from the disease and three died.
The Capital Complex, comprising of Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa, has reported most of these cases with 216 people found to be positive.
Arunachal Pradesh had remained virus-free till May 23. It witnessed a spurt in COVID-19 cases after residents of the state started returning from other parts of the country.