ITANAGAR: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, on Saturday, said that the second wave of COVID-19 has emerged as a real threat owing to its more infectious nature resulting in higher mortality rate than the first wave that had rocked the world last year.
Khandu convened two virtual meetings -- the first with legislators and the second with corporators, councilors and zilla parishad members, to take stock of the COVID-19 situation in the State and also to get suggestions for the government to deal with it. He emphasised on strict adherence to COVID-19 SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) while encouraging all eligible people to get vaccinated.
The virtual meeting, conceptualized and chaired by Governor Brig (retd) B.D. Mishra, specifically concentrated on preparedness of five districts that have witnessed a spike in the COVID-positive cases in the recent times. The districts are Lower Dibang Valley, Papum Pare, Namsai, East Siang and West Kameng.
Khandu dispensed rumours on ineffectiveness and side-effects of the vaccine and said that the vaccine being provided by the government is safe and effective against the deadly virus.
"Till yesterday, we have vaccinated about 1.35 lakh people. Going by the rapid increase in COVID-positive cases, we have to get more and more people vaccinated. Legislators, corporators, councilors and panchayat members need to encourage people to go for vaccination besides creating awareness on compulsory wearing of masks, maintaining social distance and proper hygiene," added the Chief Minister.
Khandu also emphasized on more testing through Truenat and RT-PCR, and added that testing, tracking and treatment will have to be ramped up. "By Monday, the Department of Health & Family Welfare will notify the guidelines to combat the second wave of Coronavirus," he informed.
Meanwhile, all entry points to the State will be on vigil; and, testing will be made compulsory for all people entering the State. Restrictions will be also put on social gatherings and functions.
Several legislators and local body leaders have urged the government to reduce the RT-PCR and RAT charges for the poor to get tested for the virus. Many also suggested that the vaccination be made available to people of all age groups. At present, it is being offered only to people above 45 years of age.
The demand for vaccination to all came from the alarming report that the second wave of COVID-19 has mostly victimized the people within the age bracket of 15 to 29 years.
Health Minister Alo Libang sought the cooperation and support of all to arrest the spread of Coronavirus in the State. He said that though compared to the other parts of the country, Arunachal Pradesh is on the safer side yet the people will have to be cautious. "We successfully thwarted the virus last year. If we are all together is in this battle, we will again succeed," added Libang.
The Governor appreciated the concern and enthusiasm of the State government to deal with the pandemic. He also emphasized on ramping up COVID tests and the vaccination drive.