Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
The nationwide lockdown has been extended upto 3 May. Worldwide, Covid-19 has infected more than 27 lakh persons, with almost two lakh fatalities. The same figures for India are 23,000 persons infected, with 750 plus fatalities. In the Northeast, there are about 55 infections with two fatalities. The single Covid-19 case of Arunachal has been cured, and presently Arunachal is Covid-19-free.
As per latest studies, the incubation period for Covid-19 ranges from 1-14 days, the mean being five days, while 98 percent of infected individuals would develop symptoms within 12 days. However, there are chances that a miniscule 1 percent may develop symptoms after 14 days. Therefore, the period of quarantine should be increased to a minimum of 21 days.
Logically, if Arunachal completes 21 days of lockdown without any leakages, it may be safe to say that Arunachal is free of Covid-19. That means that Covid-19 may be brought only from outside the state by humans or via transported loads.
Humans option 1: Anybody entering from outside the state should be quarantined at central locations (not home) for minimum 21 days. These quarantine centres must be sealed and guarded round the clock with only selected teams dealing with the quarantine centres. Dormitories should be avoided to prevent chance infection to all co-inhabitants. It would be ideal to house them in partitioned/separate rooms. After completion of the quarantine period, the person may be allowed to go home/work.
Humans option 2: All persons arriving from outside the state may be tested immediately for Covid-19 as per the laid down protocols. Once proven negative for Covid-19, individuals should be allowed to go back home from the central quarantine centres. The amount spent on Covid-19 tests would be similar to the expenditures involved in quarantine centres for food, lodging, security/medical personnel, etc, with uncertainty hanging in the air for 21 days.
Transportation: Essential loads and goods coming from outside the state should be transshipped via different sets of drivers/staff from the designated entry/check gates. Personnel dealing with transportation must protect themselves with masks and sanitizers during transshipment. Goods and transport vehicles must be sanitized at the entry gates with decontamination sprays.
Passenger transportation within the state should be cleared following social distancing norms and transport sanitization. Passenger transports going through Assam should not have any stoppages in towns/villages of Assam to avoid physical contact.
As per latest reports, human vaccine trials has commenced in the UK and Germany, with over 700 volunteers. Reports indicate 80 percent chances of developing a vaccine by September-October. This would be followed by mass production by the end of the year. There are also reports that the latest plasma trials on critical Covid-19 patients are showing positive reports. Therefore, if the steps enumerated above are implemented strictly, Arunachal will remain Covid-19-free till vaccines are available! Do you want a Covid-19-free Arunachal? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)