Itanagar: The district administration here has imposed a 14-day curfew in the entire Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) with immediate effect after a large number of people came out of their homes and rushed to the markets to stock up on essentials, flouting all COVID-19 precautionary measures on Monday.

The clampdown will remain in force until May 31.

The ICR, which is under a complete lockdown till May 31, witnessed huge crowds in all the major markets while traffic congestion was also witnessed in several places.

The chaotic development comes at a time when the daily spike in COVID-19 cases is touching new highs across the state and several are battling for their lives.

Related: Arunachal logs 180 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

ICR deputy commissioner Talo Potom attributed Monday’s chaos to the confusion among the public over the containment orders issued earlier, which were separate for the ICR and the rest of state.

The ICR consists of Itanagar, the state capital, Naharlagun and Banderdewa. 

“It seems that the people misunderstood the order issued for the ICR and that for the rest of the state where there is no lockdown, following which many came out to the streets. The people should understand that no one in the ICR is allowed to venture out and no shops or any other commercial establishments would be allowed to open until May 31, except for the exempted ones,” the DC said.

A large number of people came out of their homes and rushed to the markets on Monday, flouting all COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Potom said the ICR administration had decided to allow a few designated shops selling essential goods to be open in sectors and colonies for the convenience of the public starting Monday, however, that too would now stand cancelled as it was overwhelming the containment efforts of the frontline workers and administration.

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Expressing concern over the masses not understanding the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, the DC also appealed to all those exempted from the purview of the curfew and lockdown to not venture out if not on duty.

“We have noticed that many officials and individuals who are exempted from the containment restrictions are coming out of their houses without any purpose or assignments. To make sure this does not happen, we will initiate strict checks at nakas now. All the checkpoints will now have a magistrate on duty to ensure that the exemption given is not misused,” Potom said.

The DC also appealed to the people not to come out of their homes even for morning or evening walks and cooperate with the district administration and frontline workers for their own safety.

With regards to the availability of essential goods, Potom said sufficient home delivery services have been identified for the convenience of the public and urged all to utilise their services.

He also said that vegetables will be home delivered to the people for which they are working out modalities with the Itanagar Municipal Council, Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others.   

“For any complaints regarding the rates of goods, e-passes for emergency travel and all other Covid-19 related assistance, the public can call us on the 24×7 Covid Control helpdesk number 936-281-3608 or send an email to  covidcontrolroomitanagar@gmail.com,” the DC said.

Capital superintendent of police Jimmy Chiram also appealed to the people to cooperate with the district administration and police in containing the pandemic.

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