Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA-AP) has called upon the state governments of Assam and Arunachal to extend the ongoing lockdown for another 28 days, until May 13, so that the Northeast states can prepare more systematically against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IMA-AP in separate representations submitted to state chief minister Pema Khandu and his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said, “If the lockdown is relaxed or lifted there are high chances that many asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers may enter the region.”

“With the rise of COVID-19 cases across the country, the chances of Northeast people living outside getting infected with the virus has increased several folds. Also, many asymptomatic carriers might enter the region if the lockdown is lifted,” the association said.

The IMA-AP said that Assam will turn out to be the hotspot of the pandemic if the asymptomatic carriers are to come back to their respective states through Assam as it is the gateway of all Northeastern states.

The association further reasoned that other than Assam, many northeastern states do not have antibody test kits (screening kit) as well as RT-PCR (confirmatory test) facilities.

“Neither do the other states have adequate ICU facilities and other logistics. Lifting of lockdown will be catastrophic to the population which is already struggling with the lockdown,” the organisation said.

The IMA-AP further suggested that Assam government may liaise with other state governments where their respective students are stranded and provide them financial help as well as ensure adequate food supply and security.

All the other governments can also explore the possibility of leasing hotels or safe buildings for this purpose in their respective states, the association said.

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