GUWAHATI: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has appealed to the state government to make COVID-19 tests mandatory for all returnees, including personnel from the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) and Border Road Task Force (BRTF).
In a statement, the students’ union demanded that the revised standard-operating procedure (SOP) for CPMFs and BRTF personnel be immediately modified to include “mandatory testing” in it.
Under the revised standard-operating procedure issued by the health department last month, only those who develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14-day quarantine period are required to undergo tests.
Besides it allowed paramilitary establishments to execute their own SOPs for prevention of COVID-19 with 14 days mandatory quarantine in their own facilities.
“Mandatory testing for all returnees, even if they are asymptomatic, should be undertaken. We demand the state government to immediately make changes in the revised SOP for CPMFs and BRTFs issued on May 19 and include mandatory testing in it,” the AAPSU statement said.
The appeal from AAPSU comes in the wake of reports of 15 National Disaster Response Force and one General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) personnel testing positive for the virus in the capital complex region, comprising state capital, Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa.
The union said that the modified SOP should also be communicated to all districts and urged those CPMFs and BRTF personnel who have returned to the state to voluntarily come forward for testing and support the health department.
“The state government should take due cognisance of the concerns raised by AAPSU as any lack of diligence may prove to be futile in the efforts to make Arunachal Pradesh a COVID-free state,” it said.
The union further asked the government to ascertain whether those returning to Arunachal from the Chakma community are from the designated camps of the state or from somewhere else.
A meeting of AAPSU’s “COVID-19 Mission” was held on Monday at Itanagar under the initiative of the mission chairman cum vice-president (administration) Meje Taku to review the latest spurt in COVID-19 positive cases in the state capital.