Port Blair, May 28: In a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister with copies to the Home Minister, the Lt. Governor, A&N Islands and the State President of BJP, A&N Islands, the Ex-Member of Parliament, A&N Islands, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray has requested for institutional/ home quarantine of all passengers/ islanders returning to the islands by air and ships with proper testing of samples by RMRC.  

Bishnu stated, “I have received many complaints from islanders such as Media persons/ prominent islanders/ Doctors/ retired higher officials’ etc regarding allowing free movement of passengers arriving from mainland india by flights from 25th May, 2020.  They are apprehensive about introduction of the virus again in the territory. The concerns expressed are as follows:-

  1. The A & N Administration has published Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in the Administration’s Mouthpiece ‘The Daily Telegrams’ dated 23rd May, 2020 for passengers arriving from mainland India by flight and ships. It was prescribed that all asymptomatic passengers will be placed under Home quarantine for atleast 14 days.
  2. However, it was observed that this SOP has not been followed and all passengers arrived here after 25th of May, 2020 have been allowed free movement to their respective remote islands after thermal checking.
  3. The islanders are apprehensive that such free movement may once again introduce the Virus in the islands. The health infrastructure across the territory happens to be very poor and is only good to an extent at the headquarters in Port Blair.
  4. There is some anger amongst the public as seen in various posts in Whatsapp and all media and are criticising the Administration for allowing passengers arriving from mainland india to move freely.
  5. I have also information that islanders are in agitated mood because of not following the SOP published by the A & N Administration in the Daily Telegrams dated 23rd May, 2020 and may resort to agitation against the government.
  6. I have also gone through the guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare dated 25th May, 2020 for domestic travel (Air/ Train/Ship/ Inter state bus service). In this guideline too, the Ministry vide a Note at the bottom of the guideline has clearly stipulated that “States can also develop their own protocol with regard to quarantine and isolation as per their assessment”.
  7. In view of this Note of the Ministry in the guideline and considering the capacity of health infra in the islands, it was but pertinent for the Administration to follow the guidelines it had published in the local daily (Daily Telegrams dated 23rd May, 2020).
  8. I have also spoken to many doctors / experts and islanders who are all of the view that atleast home quarantine of passengers arriving from mainland may be ensured.

The Ex-Member of Parliament, Bishnu Pada Ray has therefore demanded to place the passengers coming from mainland under Institutional/Home quarantine. As number of such persons will be very limited, proper tests can be conducted through ICMR immediately. All passengers found negative can be immediately released from Institutional quarantine for self-monitoring for a further period of seven days.