CS denies there is community transmission of Covid-19
ITANAGAR, Jul 11: Alarmed by the rapid spike in Covid-19 positive cases among primary contacts in the Itanagar capital region (ICR), the state cabinet on Saturday decided to extend the lockdown in the ICR till 20 July.
The ongoing lockdown had been slated to end on Monday morning (13 July). The decision to extend it was taken during a cabinet meeting convened by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, considering the Covid-19 situation in the state capital.
Addressing a virtual press conference on the cabinet decision, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar said, “Three hundred and seventy primary contacts of the seven people who tested Covid-19 positive have been traced, out of which 207 tested negative, 27 tested positive, and the results of 136 are awaited.
“Among the seven positives, in one particular case, where the gentleman was residing in the area, many have been found positive, so taking cognizance, the cabinet has decided to extend the lockdown of one week till 20th July,” Kumar said.
“Whatever restrictions and exemptions which were there will automatically be in force. One or two cases, the cabinet has approved exemptions because of heavy rainfall in the ICR or Arunachal. Therefore the entry of essential commodities will also be allowed from Banderdewa check gate,” the CS added.
“Grocery shops in the colonies will be opened from 9 am to 5 pm and will be regulated by the district administration,” he informed, and cautioned that action would be initiated against shopkeepers who hoard or sell at exorbitant rates.
On the exemptions, Kumar informed that the finance and planning departments and the office of the DCM will be allowed to work, “primarily keeping in view that the current financial work has already been set in motion and the union health ministry is working. They have to receive certain information and proposals, especially of the centrally-sponsored schemes.”
The CS also said that several central services employees being posted to Arunachal from different parts of the country will be allowed in. “However, they have to follow the SOP,” he said.
“The primary focus of the health department for the next one week will be (to) have an intensive surveillance, especially in the part of Naharlagun in Sectors C, E and F. We have sufficient quantity antigen test kits that would be used in Sector C, Sector E and F,” he added.
During the lockdown period, the frontline workers of different departments will also be tested, Kumar said.
He denied that community transmission of Covid-19 was taking place in the capital region, and termed it “local transmission.”
On being asked why the government was reluctant to accept that community transmission is on in spite of a number of cases having been transmitted to primary contacts, the CS said, “In community transmission has Stage 3 transmissions, where we do not know what is cause for transmission. As far as we are concerned, in the capital region is, we know from where it is coming and we traced them all, so question of community transmission does not arise.”
The CS also denied that there was any containment zone in the ICR. However, he said that “if the need arises after intensive surveillance, with the consultation of district administration and the health department, containment zones will be identified, depending on cases.”