Intensive tests, mass vaccination way towards unlocking capital: Felix

ITANAGAR, 29 May: “Once intensive (Covid) tests are done and mass vaccination is carried out, we can gradually move towards unlocking the capital region,” said Home Minister Bamang Felix during a virtual meeting here on Saturday.

During the meeting, representatives of the state government and various stakeholders were unanimous in their decision to intensify Covid testing and mass vaccination during the extended one-week lockdown in the Itanagar capital region (ICR).

Felix emphasized that “lockdown is not the solution but the need of the hour to stop the chain of transmission.” He said that, once the transmission is controlled, there should be a collaborative effort by every individual to follow the SOPs and Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Highlighting that the state government has already procured sufficient vaccines for the state and more are to be procured in the coming days, he assured that “all those who are eligible would be vaccinated in the coming days.”

Local MLA Techi Kaso stressed on intensifying tests and assured the DA and the health department of his cooperation. “Simultaneously, vaccination should be intensified,” the MLA said.

He stressed that the state government should try to reach out to the poor and the needy during these trying times, and opined that “we should try to bring in partial lockdown with exemptions and restrictions.”

ACCI general secretary Toko Tatung stressed that “lockdown is not the solution as Corona is not here for days or weeks.”

“Our emphasis should be on testing, vaccinations and Covid-appropriate behaviour,” Tatung said, and stressed on learning to live with it with proper care. He also urged the state government to give “priority Covid vaccination to people running business establishments.”

Kipa Nai of the Naharlagun Bazaar Welfare Committee highlighted a few grievances and requested the state government to address the problems.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar informed that in the State Disaster Management Authority meeting held on 28 May, all the members had collectively agreed to extend the Covid curfew (lockdown) for one more week (from 5 am of 31 May to 5 am of 7 June) to control the spread of the coronavirus.

He also informed that tests would be ramped up in the entire capital region, while vaccinations and door-to-door surveillance activities would also begin.

Principal Health Secretary Dr Sharat Chauhan informed that earlier the transmissibility rate had rapidly increased with the increasing number of active positive cases. He further informed that the capital region has managed to bring down the positivity rate during the lockdown period “but to maintain it, we need to extend it to another one week,” during which the department would focus on intensive surveillance activities, including testing, through the flying squad team and at testing centres.

“They will also focus on tracing, tracking, isolation and treatment, and also on increasing vaccination coverage of 45 years and above at all CVCs, and also sessions to reach out to the unvaccinated,” he said.

He also informed about other activities that the department is contemplating, such as increasing the number of beds at the dedicated Covid hospital in Chimpu and Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) in Naharlagun, installation of oxygen plants at TRIHMS, etc, within a week.

NHM nodal officer Dr D Padung informed that the department will start with household survey for vaccination and will also administer the second dose to those who are eligible.

Itanagar Municipal Corporation Mayor Tame Phassang highlighted the need to carry out intensive tests in every ward, and administering vaccination to all those who are eligible.

All the corporators unanimously agreed to cooperate with the DA in implementing the government’s decisions with regard to Covid SOPs.

Education Minister Taba Tedir informed that the decision to extend the vacation for schools till 15 June has been notified, and requested all to cooperate with the decision to go for extended lockdown.

ICR DC Talo Potom and Environment & Forests Minister Mama Natung also sought everyone’s cooperation with the extended lockdown. (DIPRO)