ITANAGAR, June 1 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday said that around 8,000 people from the state who were stranded due to the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown have returned till Sunday.
“Around 8,000 stranded Arunachal people, including students, have returned to the state,” Khandu told reporters. He said another 5,000-6,000 stranded people will return by June 20.
Stating that Arunachal Pradesh was among the few states which made institutional quarantine mandatory for returnees, the Chief Minister said, “If a COVID-19 positive case is detected, it should not go beyond the quarantine facility.”
Later, taking to Twitter, Khandu posted: “We have recorded low positive cases among the returnees. This was possible as we were able to take care of stranded Arunachalis across the country through our nodal officers, delivering essential items at their doorstep.”
On the health of three returnees who tested positive for COVID-19, he said, “All the three patients are asymptomatic and they are doing well.”
On issuing Standard Operating Procedure following new guidelines issued by the Centre for ‘Unlock 1.0’, Khandu said, “Arunachal Pradesh is still under lockdown as there is a ban on issue of Inner Line Permit (ILP) and renewal of expired ILP. Our first priority is to bring in stranded Arunachalees. In the second phase, we will tackle the ILP issue.”
On inter-state movement, he said only vehicles carrying essential commodities and trucks are allowed. “We will continue with it till our stranded people return,” he added.
Stating that the tourism industry – hotels, homestays and tour operators – was affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Khandu said, “We will open intra-Arunachal tourism after 2-3 months. Tourism has been the worst hit by the pandemic, and we have plans to revive it with the Dekho Apna Pradesh campaign. We will slowly open up tourism for people within the state. Arunachal being a big state with numerous tribes, many within the state are yet to explore it.”