Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix has said special emphasis should be given to intensive testing and mass vaccination during the extended one week of lockdown in the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR).

Addressing virtual meeting which also saw the participation of cabinet ministers Mama Natung and Taba Tedir, Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso, chief secretary Naresh Kumar and IMC mayor Tame Phassang, Felix said though lockdown is not the solution, however, the need of the hour was to stop the chain of virus transmission.

We have to move together in a mission mode to ensure that intensive Covid tests are conducted in the entire ICR, the minister said while seeking cooperation from all to make the vaccination and testing drive successful.

Felix said the government has already procured sufficient vaccines for the state and more would be procured in the coming days,

He said once intensive tests are done and mass vaccination is carried out, “we can gradually move towards unlocking the ICR”.

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Environment and Forest minister Mama Natung said though ICR has been able to bring down the positivity rate in the last few days, the health department’s suggestion to extend the lockdown is justified.

We should acknowledge the efforts of the frontline workers and try to look into the positive aspects of it, Natung said.

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

MLA Kaso stressed that the state government should try to reach out to the poor and needy during such trying times.

He suggested opting for partial lockdown with exemptions and restrictions.

Principal Secretary (health) Dr Sarat Chauhan said though the ICR has managed to bring down the positivity rate, the lockdown had to be extended to maintain the same.

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“We would focus on intensive surveillance activities including Covid intensive tests during this period,” he said.

Dr Chauhan also informed about other activities that the health department is contemplating to increase the number of beds at Dedicated Covid Centre, Chimpu and TRIHMS and installation of oxygen plants at the latter etc within one week.

Dr D Padung, nodal officer of National Health Mission, informed that the health department will start household surveys for vaccinations and will also administer the second dose to those eligible.

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