New Delhi: The government declared that five out of eight states in the north-east – Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura as coronavirus-free as no new cases for the highly contagious virus have been reported in these states. On Monday, Junior Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh also held a video conference with officials of the North Eastern Council (NEC) and representatives of government bodies and state-run firms. Informing netizens about this markable feat in the fight of coronavirus, Mr Singh on his social media said,
5 out of 8 States #Corona free while other 3 have not added any new Corona positive case in the last few days in the north east.
He also congratulated the state governments in the region, Northeast Ministry, North Eastern Council and said that they deserve appreciation for perfect coordination to make this possible.
#Northeast Video Conference meeting: 5 out of 8 States #Corona free while other 3 have not added any new Corona positive case in the last few days.CMs,State Govts, Northeast Ministry/DoNER, North Eastern Council deserve appreciation for perfect coordination to make this possible. pic.twitter.com/wDVJmSSLyq
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) April 27, 2020
Mr Singh also informed that the other three states have also not reported any new COVID-19 cases in the last few days. He said,
Assam reported eight COVID-19 cases, Meghalaya 11 and Mizoram one case. And all the three states are coping well and will soon have no cases as in last 24-hours, no news cases have been reported from these three states.
What the North-Eastern States Have Done Right
Explaining how Arunachal Pradesh fought the coronavirus battle, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar told NDTV,
Our first and the only COVID-19 positive case was reported from Lohit district, far off from capital Itanagar. We have been able to cure the patient at the district hospital since our medical team was ready. We were prepared. We had even sealed our inter-state borders. Even today, as we don’t have any COVID-positive case, we keep the strongest vigil on our inter-state borders. We are following a very strong sanitisation protocol. But there was also the challenge of keeping the local population away from the virus. But, the indigenous tribal quarantine practice became very helpful. The tribal groups in the state implemented their own customary rituals much before the first positive case emerged. These groups initiated a strict lockdown and started practiSing social distancing in order to stop the spread of the pandemic. All the families started self-quarantining themselves and stopped going out simply. As a result, the virus spread was stopped at the very initial stage in Arunachal Pradesh. A check-point was created at the start of the village by these tribes itself and any person entering the village was only allowed to enter after sanitizing their hands.
Nehru Yuva Kendra #Tirap #ArunachalPradesh has imposed blockades at multiple locations to support the District Administration. Any person entering the village is allowed to enter only after sanitize their hands.@KirenRijiju | @RijijuOffice | @YASMinistry | @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/RGESFFNjYl
— NYKS India (@Nyksindia) April 27, 2020
India’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju showcasing how North-Eastern states are winning the battle against coronavirus by following strict social distancing and lockdown norms in his recent tweets said,
See this beautiful, cultured behaviour & disciplined conduct during the lockdown in the North-Eastern State of Manipur! The thing to observe here is maintaining dignity & convenience for everyone while distributing relief materials.
Don't show useless concocted stories like snake eating. Show beautiful, cultured behavior & disciplined conduct during lockdown in the North-Eastern State of Manipur! The thing to observe here is maintaining dignity & convenience for everyone while distributing relief materials. pic.twitter.com/RP8GMUTfLJ
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) April 27, 2020
Mr Rijiju also shared glimpses of Mizoram and how the state is mastering social distancing norms.
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) April 27, 2020
On the other hand, Sikkim was the only state in the country that did not report even a single positive case of COVID-19. Explaining how the state dealt with the pandemic being one of the tourist-friendly places, Chief Minister Of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang, added,
Sikkim has been coronavirus free because the state took precautions ever since the first case was reported in the country. February onwards, Sikkim started screening at various check posts, it was also one of the first states in India to do so. The state also banned the entry of all foreigners. Apart from this, frontline warriors – healthcare professionals, police officials, sanitation workers, government employees – have been proactive.
Talking about the proactive steps taken by the state when it comes to testing, Mr Tamang added,
We don’t have a lab but we wrote to the government of India and immediately got approval for North Bengal Medical College to conduct COVID-19 tests. We had sent over 60 samples and they all turned to be negative. Parallelly, the state is also working on to build their own testing lab, which will be built in a month’s time.