The slowness of the health department

The lockdown in the Itanagar capital region (ICR) and six other districts has been extended up to 7 June. The decision to extend the lockdown, especially in the ICR, has not gone down well with the citizens. A large section of the population is deeply annoyed with the decision and has clearly said they oppose the decision. With the number of Covid-19 cases continuing to rise and experts putting pressure on the government to extend the lockdown, the state government was left with no choice. It is a well-known fact that the poor, especially the daily wage earners and those in small-time businesses, are the worst sufferers of lockdowns. Sadly, till now the state government has not made any effort to ease their financial constraints with some kind of support from the government’s side.

There is growing anger due to this. Also, the vaccination process is very slow. The health department has failed to complete the vaccination of those above 45 years of age and frontline as well as healthcare workers. It constantly claims that there are enough vaccines for the people of these categories, but still is not able to fully cover this age category.

During the lockdown period, vaccination drives should be sped up. Open more vaccination centres. If possible, start door-to-door vaccination. The department should keep a target to complete vaccinating those above 45 years of age by 10 June. After that, every resource should be used to vaccinate those in the age group of 18 to 44 years. A realistic target should be set to complete the first dose vaccination in the entire state by the end of July.

Further, the testing for Covid-19 is also very less. The health department should conduct more tests. Testing helps to identify and isolate those infected with Covid-19. This prevents further spread of the virus. In the ICR too, the department is conducting very few tests. At least per day more than 3,000 tests should be conducted in the next one week. This will be the best way to use the lockdown period.