COVID-19 paralyzed the whole world. India is no exception.
The Prime Minister announced “Jantar Curfew” on 22 March (Sunday). This was to follow by further shutdowns. Arunachal Lockdown announced from 23 to 31 March, which was superimposed by the PM of 21 Days India Lockdown from 24 March to 14 April.
The first response of citizens was “panic-buying” and hoarding of food supplies. Though authorities informed essential commodities will be available. The message may not have gone convincingly.
Arunachal then faced its reality.
- There was no capacity to handle COVID-19 patients.
- No testing facilities. Samples are sent to Dibrugarh.
- Masks are out of stock and if lucky to get one, overcharged.
- Vegetables are less available. Some starting saying I will plant vegetables!
The GoAP and citizens made whole hearted efforts.
- Donations poured in to the CM’s Relief Fund. MLAs allocated MLAD funds towards it. Churches under Arunachal Christian Forum donated as well.
- The state’s Check Gates were sealed.
- Schools, hostels, religious institutions shut down.
- Administration and MLAs into full swing to control, direct people. Even ensured there were sufficient food stocks available at normal rates.
- Many people got lathi charge. Two policemen overbeat labourers from Assam and were suspended.
- The SP of Capital Complex was seen bowing down before public begging not to come out of their house.
- Villages in Adi area closed their village roads. And some people sacrificed dog to ward off Coronavirus.
- Many house owners waive house rents for few months.
This intial days of preparation and suspense lasted about 10 days until 2 April. When the first case was out. Now the virus is closer home.
Till 1st April no person is tested COVID-19 positive. However, the state is now alarmed after news came out that there are 7 people who attended a Muslim gathering at Nizamuddin, Delhi, where attendees had been affected with the virus (AP Times, 1 April).
First positive case of Coronavirus was detected in Arunachal on 2 April (Gyoloo News) of a man in Medo, who attended Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin. Objections began then, with an organization ANYA and individuals calling not to bring the patient to TRIHMS (which had 4 bed ICUs exclusively prepared for COVID-19 affected for the state). That call was perhaps accepted by the Health Minister, Alo Libang. That patient will be treated in Dibrugarh (Arunachal Today). The patient was a non-Arunachalee, by the surname Talukdar and by then was shifted from Medo to Tezu General Hospital. Objections raised by local MLA to shift him and his whole family from there as the hospital is not equipped to handle such a situation (Facebook).
3 April (Day 11) saw expected reactions from the organizations of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. A representation of student organizations lodged complaints to CM. The Health Minister tendered an apology for not making his earlier announcement not clear. And ANYA also issued a clarification that they did not say Arunachalees from Eastern Arunachal will not be treated but only that particular patient. (AP Times, 5 April).
Other Arunachal reactions:
- The Capital Complex DC had to order dismantling of temporary gates set up by local area colonies (AP Times, 3 April) and some gates on main roads (Arunachal Today).
- Someone claimed he had found cure for coronavirus.
In the meantime, stray dogs in Capital Complex was disappearing. Perhaps for consumption because the volunteers feeding the dogs said the healthier ones were missing.
The PM’s proclamation, “Mahabharat battle was won in 18 days; we’ll win over COVID-19 battle in 21 days” missed the mark. Hence the marathon of discussions.
Arunachal had two struggles. First to completely lockdown but first bring back people stranded outside the state. Second, completely shutdown and do not bring back the students.
Arunachal took the second option with CS making announcements yesterday. Now we are lockdown again till 30 April.