While appreciating the state government for making wearing of masks compulsory in public areas, the Arunachal Pradesh unit of Indian Medical Association appealed to the citizens to follow the order religiously.

The wearing of masks for all Arunachalees while stepping outside their homes has been made obligatory through an order issued by chief secretary Naresh Kumar on Friday.

The order was issued under the Arunachal Pradesh Epidemic Disease (Prevention of COVID-19) Regulation, 2020.

Addressing media persons here on Saturday, IMA president Dr Lobsang Tsetim said the order is a welcome move and the same would go a long way in containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

“Now it is compulsory for the people to wear face masks in public places and avoid spitting around and those found violating the order will be penalized,” Dr Tsetim said.

Speaking on the association’s ‘Mask for Arunachal Campaign’, Arunachal Pradesh IMA secretary Dr Jego Ori said the campaign which started on April 8 has been very well received by all and the entire Capital Complex has been covered under it.

“The campaign is also supported by the volunteers of Arunachal Cancer Welfare Society (ACWS),” Dr Ori said.

“The IMA along with the volunteers of ACWS are not only providing face masks to the people but also visiting various colonies and sectors creating awareness on COVID-19,” Dr Ori added.

The Arunachal Pradesh IMA secretary informed that the association has so far covered 52 places in Naharlagun and 26 places in Itanagar.

“In addition our volunteers have covered around 354 sectors and colonies in the state and distributed more than 18000 masks to the people,” Dr Ori said while adding that they are making all out effort to cover the entire state.

He said another 500 face masks have been collected by the association with the help of several organizations, entrepreneurs, public and self help groups and the same would be distributed soon.

Arunachal Pradesh IMA vice president Dr Kessaang Wangdi requested the common people to avoid using surgical masks as it is meant only for one-time use.

“The surgical masks can’t be reused, therefore it is more advisable to use a double-layered cotton mask or any homemade masks,” he said while adding that one should always cover the entire nose and mouth part for better safety.

“We should also know that masks along cannot protect us from the coronavirus as maintaining hygiene, washing hands repeatedly and maintaining social distance is more important,” Dr Wangdi said.

Meanwhile, the Arunachal Pradesh Chemist and Druggist Association (APCDA) appealed to the pharmacies operating in the state to extend all possible support to the medical patients.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, APCDA president Pawan Bagang said they are taking all measures to ensure that the medicines are available in the state.

“There are patients who need regular medication and because of the lockdown some are reportedly facing problems,” said Bagang.

“We have directed all the pharmacies affiliated with us to take care of all such patients and make available the required medicines,” he said.

The APCDA further clarified that there is no crisis of medicines in the state.

“People should not believe in rumours. Around 1500 pharmacies across the state are playing critical role in this time of crisis and making all medicines available for the people,” Bagang said.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com