No strict measures in state yet, schools open even as Covid-19 infections surge

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 8 Jan: Even as the numbers of Covid-19 and its Omicron variant cases are rapidly surging in the country, the state government is yet to implement strict measures to curb the spread of the infection.

Covid-19 cases in Arunachal Pradesh rapidly increased in the first week of this month. The number rose from 0 to 59 by 8 January. The state currently has 186 active cases and the death toll has reached 282.

On Saturday, the union health ministry stated that the country has reported a single-day rise of 1,41,986 new coronavirus cases, which includes 3,071 cases of the Omicron variant reported across 27 states and union territories.

In the Northeast, so far Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur are the states that have reported Omicron cases. Manipur was the first state to report an Omicron case in the Northeast, followed by Meghalaya, which reported five cases, and Assam, which reported seven cases till Friday.

The rapid rise in Covid-19 and Omicron cases in Assam prompted the government to announce stricter restrictions, including curbing of interstate movement, increasing sample testing, making use of masks mandatory and prohibiting gatherings. The Assam government has also revised the standard operating procedures (SoP), keeping in view the rapid increase in infections.

Meanwhile, in Arunachal, the authorities are yet to revise the SOPs for travellers entering and exiting the state. Testing of travellers and those within the state has also gone down drastically.

Health department officials had confirmed no modification in the SOPs for travellers till Saturday.

“We are, however, keeping track of returnees from foreign countries and carrying out mandatory testing after a week,” informed a health official.

Another matter of concern in the state is possible infection among children as schools have reopened. Parents are concerned as no new regulation has come up for the school authorities. The school education department has also not received any new directives from the health department, despite the growing Covid-19 cases in the state.