Itanagar: Sixty-six more people, including five police and security personnel, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arunachal Pradesh, taking the northeastern state’s tally to 609, a health official said on Saturday.
The Capital Complex region reported 58 new cases, Changlang district four, East Siang district two and Namsai and Lower Siang districts one each, State Surveillance Officer Dr. L Jampa said.
“This is the second-highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases in the state after 75 infections were detected on July 15,” he said.
The Capital Complex comprises Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa.
On Friday, 52 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Arunachal Pradesh.
The new infections include four policemen on COVID-19 duty — three in the Capital Complex region and one in Namsai district — and a CRPF jawan posted in Seinki View area near Itanagar, Dr. Jampa said.
Two new patients from Changlang are health workers and the remaining two from the district, as well as the fresh cases from East Siang and Lower Siang districts, are returnees from other states, he said.
The Capital Complex has registered 295 cases so far, the highest in the state, followed by 37 in Changlang, 29 in Namsai, 21 in East Siang and 12 in Lower Subansiri.
Twenty-two more people have recovered. They were advised 14-day home quarantine upon their release from hospitals.
The number of active cases in the state now stands at 431. While 175 people have recovered, three patients have died, Dr. Jampa said, adding that 36,426 samples have been tested so far.
The state government has decided to ramp up antigen testing in the Capital Complex, according to a senior official.
“We are planning to conduct 1,000 antigen tests daily in the Capital Complex region in view of a spurt in COVID-19 cases,” Health Secretary P Parthiban told reporters during a virtual press conference here on Friday.
The health department is presently conducting 200-300 antigen tests in the region daily, he said.
The rapid response teams constituted by the department have been conducting antigen tests for primary and secondary contacts of COVID-19 patients, he added.
“We are now planning to conduct antigen tests of all the vulnerable people in the Capital Complex region as requested by the business community and other stakeholders, to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Parthiban said.
The Capital Complex administration will declare Naharlagun’s E-Sector and an area in Nirjuli as containment zones in view of the spurt in cases in these areas, he said, adding that a notification to this effect will be issued soon.
Parthiban said the health department recommended during a virtual cabinet meeting held on Friday an extension of the lockdown that is underway in the Capital Complex region to flatten the curve of coronavirus and put forth all facts and figures.
“We have explained to the cabinet the scenario regarding the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Capital Complex region. It is up to the cabinet to decide on the extension of the lockdown,” he said.
The lockdown in the region is scheduled to end on July 20.
Parthiban also said the state government is planning to start plasma therapy at the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS).
The cabinet of Chief Minister Pema Khandu has asked the health department to conduct more COVID-19 tests across the state.
“Reviewed the status of #COVID19 in the state through a virtual Cabinet meeting today. Views presented by Hon’ble Members of the Cabinet were taken into consideration. Directions were issued to Health dept for speeding up the COVID tests throughout the State,” Khandu had tweeted on Friday.
Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar will brief the media later in the day about the decisions taken during the cabinet meeting.