[ Ranjit Sinha ]
Few weeks ago, most of the northeastern states were declared coronavirus (Covid-19)-free states, but all of that changed after the beginning of the homecoming of stranded people from across the country.
And now, the people of the NE region, including Arunachal Pradesh are almost sure that they are going to live with the pandemic Covid-19.
During his recent visit to East Siang district, Home Minister Bamang Felix had rightly said, “The people will have to learn to live with Covid-19 and the only way to keep one safe will be to follow the directives of the health department.” He added that every citizen will have to strictly adhere to social distancing and health hygiene norms to protect themselves from Covid-19.
One thing that has been observed across the country during the ongoing lockdown period is that maintaining social distancing, which is one of the main tools in fighting the pandemic, has become a herculean task for the individuals and it is going to be tougher for the people with gradual relaxation of the lockdown rules across the country.
Arunachal must also take some bold step to prepare strategies and modify its standard operating procedure from time-to-time in order to contain the rapid spread of the virus in the state.
The state government must prepare every possible strategy and borrow the idea of “ruthless quarantine with humane heart” from neighbouring Assam and implement it befitting the local situation, so that spread of Covid-19 is prevented or delayed till the invention of a vaccine or cure.
There are instances of detecting Covid-19 positive cases even after the institutional quarantine period. Therefore, the government should ensure that home returnees go for 30 days strict home quarantine along with family members.
The government should provide cash incentive or supply essential commodities and take care of other necessities for their livelihood during home quarantine. This strategy is more important as an asymptomatic person also may be a carrier of the virus, and it is easier to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 instead of embarking on a contact tracing operation after detection of a Covid-19 positive case.
The state government must prepare to go for complete lockdown again, at least at district level, if situation demands.