ITANAGAR, 28 May: The Arunachal government on Friday decided to extend the lockdown in seven districts till 7 June, following a surge in Covid-19 cases, senior officials said.
The lockdown in the Itanagar capital region (ICR), Tawang, Lower Subansiri, Namsai, Upper Subansiri, Lohit and Anjaw districts was to end on 31 May.
The decision was taken during a State Disaster Management Authority meeting, held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, to assess the coronavirus situation and review the preparedness of the state.
Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said, “Following deliberations, it was clear that Arunachal Pradesh is yet to come out of the danger zone and we must continue to take strict measures to contain the spread of the disease and save precious lives.
“In greater public interest, we must all continue to take evidence and science-based decisions in tailoring our public health response.”
The meeting also decided to identify one health facility in every assembly constituency for upgrading it with the necessary equipment, officials said.
Steps are being taken to set up 1,000 oxygen beds by July, besides upgrading the six 100 litres per minute (LPM) PSA plants in Ziro, Tawang, Tezu, Yingkiong, Seppa and Aalo.
The meeting agreed to make the 500 LPM pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plant functional at the dedicated Covid hospital (DCH) in Chimpu near here, besides setting up 600 LPM plants in 19 hospitals and approved liquid medical oxygen (LMO) storage units at five strategic locations.
It was also decided to ramp up the number of oxygen beds at Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences in Naharlagun, and at the DCH in Chimpu, the officials said.
Over three lakh people have been vaccinated in the state and there are plans to inoculate more than 1.5 lakh people in the next 30 days.
It was also decided that massive testing, tracking, and treating would be vigorously taken up to curb the spread of the disease.
The state has enough stock of essential medicines, they said.
Lockdown extension in ICR’s interest: Libang
Health Minister Alo Libang said that the decision to extend the lockdown in the ICR was not an easy one to make, and that it has been done in the best interest of the denizens.
Speaking to the press here on Friday, he said the government also did not want to impose a lockdown but was left with no option.
“We fully understand the sentiments of the citizens. Daily wage earners suffer a lot. But lockdown is the main weapon to stop the rapid spread of the virus. I appeal to the public to support the lockdown for their own safety, and we also appreciate their support till now,” said the minister.
Libang also said that random testing will be further increased in the coming days. “Testing will be doubled in the ICR. We have formed more teams to conduct tests across the capital complex,” he said. (With PTI input)
Two more die of Covid-19
Two more people died of Covid-19 on Thursday and Friday, taking the total deaths to 111 in the state.
A 55-year-old female from Changlang died in Dibrugarh in Assam, while a 79-year-old from the ICR died at the DCH in Chimpu, according to the health bulletin.
A record 497 persons tested positive in the state, with 103 recorded in the capital region among the 1,254 tested. The state capital, which has been locked for three weeks, continues to witness a high number of cases (see bulletin).
Tawang, which has seen more number of testing with 1,260 on Friday, recorded 67 cases with a 5 percent positivity rate. Kurung Kumey recorded a 25 percent positivity rate with two of the eight tested returning positive results, while Lower Subansiri reported a 14 percent positivity rate with 44 among 311 testing positive.
Lower Dibang Valley reported 46 cases among the total 447 tested, with a 10 percent positivity rate. Namsai reported 64 cases.