Port Blair, June 14: Corona cases in the islands rose up on account of positive cases entering the isles due to non-testing of passengers arriving at Port Blair by air and mingling with the populace here (reported to be a decision under earlier Chief Secretary). This situation was tackled effectively by present Chief Secretary who promptly introduced RTPCR testing at the Airport itself along with tests for passengers moving into inter islands. This measure stalled the spread of the virus to an extent and is appreciable.

In addition, the efforts of the present Chief Secretary has resulted in setting up of 1000 CB oxygen plant shortly at the lone referral hospital at Port Blair, Increase in agencies supplying oxygen from one to three, adding of good number of oxygen concentrators and ambulance, timely arrangement of rare corona medicines like remdesivir, black fungus medicine etc., ensuring supply of nutritious food to corona inpatients, speeding up of file movement in Secretariat and efforts to procure RTPCR test machine /true NAT for different district hospitals and CHCs.

In a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the Ex-Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu explained that the lone referral hospital has been turned into Corona Hospital. As a result many emergency cases in different wards are facing problem including operations. To overcome this, an exclusive corona ICU and general corona ward of 200 bed capacity is being set up at old Forest Corporation building here at Port Blair.

As a result, today the TPR is only 1.8 ℅ and total active cases are only around 100 with only 20 odd cases on oxygen support. The Islands have been on lockdown from 2nd May onwards with only essential services open for limited time (presently four hours). One and half month of lockdown and its continuation is affecting the lower income and middle income group adversely including trade of non-essential shops / construction activity etc.

To overcome the effect of lockdown and to help the administration in fight against corona, Bishnu suggested the following to the Prime Minister:

Those coming in flight and found positive after RTPCR test here, they may be put under institutional quarantine.

Whereas in whole of country 50℅ of urban pop and 80℅ of rural pop is covered under National Food Security Act but in the islands only 1.6 ℅ in the only urban area (Port Blair ) are covered . The urban area has almost 1/4th   population of the Islands. In rural area also a total of 24 ℅ pop is covered (out of which around 60℅ is in Nicobar District only). As a result not every poor family in North & Middle Andaman and South Andaman including Campbell Bay are able to get any free ration like rest of the country. Bishnu requested to cover free ration including sugar to all Non Govt. Servant households excluding big business households.

Lockdown conditions may be relaxed in view of reducing rate of occupancy in oxygen fitted beds and low TPR. The period of relaxation including for non-essential shops / establishments, construction activities may be increased to 8 AM to 1 PM.

The islands are blessed with six aboriginal primitive tribes who are very vulnerable to any disease. The islands are remote and access is difficult in many islands. As a special case, the islands may be targeted for 100℅ vaccination within a Month in a targeted manner (including through private hospitals).