Lapses in contact tracing of transporters reported

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, May 2: Amid the zone-wise relaxations notified by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) after extending the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, reports of lapses in contact tracing of transporters are surfacing in the capital complex region.
Sources in the state health task force informed that a truck, bearing the registration number TN-54L-9508, coming from Mysore (Karnataka), entered the capital via the Banderdewa check gate with essential items on Wednesday.
Reportedly, when the health task force contacted the driver, he was unable to communicate properly, and contact was lost midway. By around 5 pm, the truck was reportedly traced at G Extension in Naharlagun by the police.
It is also reported that the medical team learnt that the vehicle’s owner did not offer food to the driver, compelling him to go to the vegetable market to buy edible items, thereby mingling with several people in the market. The swab samples of the truck’s driver and his handyman have reportedly been collected for test.
Sources added that the higher authority has been alerted about the incident to initiate immediate measures to prevent lapses in contact tracing of truckers and other transporters.
In another incident, a truck bearing the registration number AS-07SC-9690, which had come from Guwahati (Assam), also lost contact.
Capital SP Tumme Amo confirmed the incident and said the vehicle went back to Guwahati after dropping consignments at G Extension and Hati Mata areas in Naharlagun.
The SP said he has also raised concern with the authority over free movement of truck drivers and handymen.
The MHA has allowed free movement of vehicles carrying goods/cargo in its guidelines – vide Clause 12(1) and Clause 12(VI) – issued on 15 April. It further reiterated that “movement of all trucks and other good carrier vehicles with two drivers and one helper, subject to the driver carrying valid driving licence, an empty truck/vehicle will be allowed to ply after the delivery of goods or pick up of goods.”
Alerted by the incident, Capital Complex DC Komkar Dulom issued an order on Friday, prohibiting truckers carrying goods from moving around in the capital complex region for delivering consignments.
The DC further restricted the time of their stay to six hours, and said truckers who overstay within the capital complex region must inform the magistrates, the nearest police station, or the medical contact tracing team before the lapsing of six hours.
The order states that violators may be booked under appropriate section of the law.
Health workers have expressed grave concern over the reported lapses in contact tracing, stating that negligence on the part of truck drivers and other transporters coming from red zones is posing a grave threat to the state, as they might be asymptomatic carriers.
They say the incidents have exposed the lack of coordination among the police personnel, the district administration and the medical teams, adding that the incidents also revealed that there is no proper regulation for truckers coming from red zones, and that, by virtue of the MHA’s guidelines, truckers are reportedly entering and exiting the state capital at will.