Covid-19:  hit hard, its wait and watch for Lower Dibang Valley

[ Karyir Riba ]

ROING, 26 May: Lower Dibang Valley (LDV) was one of the first districts in Arunachal Pradesh to be hit by the atrocious second wave of Covid-19.

After what seemed like the calm before a storm, the district recorded its first Covid second wave case on 26 March when a CRPF returnee from Maharashtra tested positive for the dreaded Coronavirus.

This was followed by two more positives the very next next day on 27 March- both GREF personnel returnees from Maharashtra again, and the rest is history.

Merely 12 days after the first case was detected, community spread or transmission was on a high roll in the district, which was evident, when seven primary contacts of a previous positive case tested positive on 8 April.

By mid April, LDV had become the worst hit district in the whole of Arunachal.

What gave even more gravity to the situation was when the district recorded its first two Covid-19 deaths on 25 April. These were also the first deaths in the state after the second wave hit Arunachal.

Looking at the severity of the Covid-19 situation, the LDV district administration proposed for a lockdown with the state government, and consequently, LDV was put under a complete lockdown for 10 days from 29 April to 9 May. This period was later extended to another seven days (till 16 May) with a few relaxations here and there.

On 1 May (33 days from recording the 1st case, and 3rd day of the complete lockdown) LDV had a whopping 310 active positive cases – the highest number of active positive cases for the district during the second wave.

Now, even after the lockdown has been lifted from LDV, the district follows strict timing restrictions on people’s movement, the most common being closure of shops and the market by 2 pm and strict curfew from 3 pm to 5 am. This, as per the order, will be prevalent till 31 May.

May 26th marks exactly the second month since the first case was detected (26 Mar) in LDV. On this day, the district has recorded 228 active cases and a cumulative 630 recovered patients.

The LDV Health department has been conducting mass random RAT tests at different areas of the district, combing area after area every day.

In the last 10 days, there have been a total of 5,362 sample collections, out of which 226 have found to be positive. During this time, the positivity rate has not been constant and has varied from 2.46 percent to 7.3 percent, back to 4.8 percent on 26 May.

The Covid situation here is not the best yet, but the district surely has seen its worst in the past couple of months.

Slowly and steadily, LDV has managed to pull itself up from the dark ditch that the Coronavirus had dragged it into.

This has only been possible because of the active participation and joint efforts of the DA, CBOs – IMCLS and ABK LDVU, Panchayat members, volunteers, and of course, the Health department and Police department of LDV, and not to mention the compliance and support from the general public to make LDV Covid-19 free.

Having said that, the law makers have had and continue to face and deal with many violators.

Come rain or sun, the LDV Police have been working relentlessly 24/7 to put the orders passed by the DA in place. They have been continuously patrolling across the township area, outskirts as well as villages to ensure zero violations. However, there are some anti-social elements or ‘covidiots’ who like playing with fire without realizing that this fire has the potential to turn everything that comes in contact with it into ashes.

DSP Ringu Ngupok said, “There have been violators since day one of the lockdown, and we still do come across them even after all these days. These people do not understand the seriousness of the situation. Any violator that we come across has had to pay their price as we have dealt very strictly with them irrespective of who they are. In the process, we have also caught many drug addicts and peddlers. Sadly, there are still countless numbers of people who require forceful enforcement, unless we are on the ground they are not going to follow. I’m afraid if such a situation prevails after 30 May when all restrictions are lifted, we can expect a rapid rise and spread of the virus just in a day or two, especially in the township area”.

Currently, many villages are declared as containment zones, like Poblung, Horupahar, Meka, Bizari and Paglam. As per reports, Kaling I and II will also be declared as containment zones by 27 May.

To add to the misery of the people, especially the Health department, the district had been facing grid power outage since the past nine days.

However, DMO Dr R Tatan informed that they were in constant coordination with the state power department and did not face any problem or power outage during the period.

Dr Tatan also informed that the DCHC Roing has 17 beds, out of which six are oxygen beds and 11 are non-oxygen, but has oxygen concentrators and cylinders at all times. “Right now, all six oxygen beds are unoccupied,” he informed.

Currently, there are two patients at the DCHC, 11 at the CCC and 215 are under home isolation/ quarantine. Nine patients have been referred to DCH Pasighat and four to Dibrugarh.

During these difficult times, many people of LDV from all walks of life have come forward to support and contribute towards the fight against Covid-19, both in cash and kind.

Local MLA Mutchu Mithi has also allocated Rs 5 lakhs from his MLALAD fund under the Covid assistance provisions, for the ASHAs of LDV. Eighty ASHA workers will receive Rs 6,250 each as an encouragement for their tireless work during Covid times.

With 31 May nearing, it will only be a game of wait and watch to see whether LDV will set itself free from the dreaded Coronavirus or will things start getting worse from there onwards.

The district has already seen seven recorded deaths as of today, and three known but unrecorded deaths. Death of any person belonging to LDV that has not been referred to other hospitals through the DH Roing is not recorded.