The army doctor's swab samples were collected on the 18th day after he arrived to Arunachal Credit: Representational image

Itanagar: Along with other states in India, Arunachal Pradesh is also witnessing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. However, the state reported three cases from an Army cantonment area for the first time. On Thursday, three Army jawans tested positive for COVID-19 at the Dahung Army cantonment in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

If sources are to be believed, one of them is a doctor. Reportedly, the Army officer (doctor) who returned from Nawada via Patna in Bihar reached Arunachal Pradesh on May 21. His swab sample was collected on the 18th day (June 8) and was found positive on June 11.

Also Read: Army doctor among 3 to test COVID-19 positive in Arunachal

Although the officer was in institutional quarantine and was then in home quarantine since May 21, as per a source, “why didn’t the Indian Army take any initiative to collect the swab sample of the Army officer for COVID-19 testing immediately, despite knowing that he has returned from Bihar”, the source asked.

Earlier, the state cabinet headed by chief minister Pema Khandu at a meeting decided to make an RT-PCR test for the detection of COVID-19 compulsory for the returnees, including the asymptomatic ones, which was also announced by state home minister Bamang Felix at a press conference on May 9.

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“Who is to be blamed for the negligence of not following the standard operating procedure for COVID-19 in the state — the Indian Army or the West Kameng district administration,” the source further asked.

Several calls made to the deputy commissioner of West Kameng, Karma Leki, went unanswered.

“RT-PCR test for all the returnees was made compulsory recently and the officer who tested positive reached on May 21,” said a source in the Army, when questioned about the delay in swab sample collection.

Meanwhile, the Tenga market is closed for 48 hours, or till all the contacts are traced, as the Army and civilians share the market in the area. This decision was taken in an emergency meeting on Thursday evening following the reports.

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The rapid response team, the medical team, and the contact tracing team along with officials of the administration and police have been deployed for contact-tracing of all civilian contacts of the positive case and containment of Chindit Top, Hemoibung, Morgung, Itabasti, Shawang, and Dahung areas.

So far, seven civilians (two domestic help and their families) in the Chindit Top civilian settlement area and two civilians in Hemoibung as primary contacts have been identified by the contact tracing team of Sinchung.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Arunachal Pradesh has reached 67 that includes 63 active cases and four recovered. Till 12 June, 3,06,420 individuals have been screened while entering the state through different check gates. During the lockdown, fine imposed on the violators so far is Rs 27,45,300.

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