The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to allow only vaccinated people to enter the State.
The State government has also gone for aggressive testing for COVID-19 and inoculation with 68% of the people aged 18 years and above having received their first dose of the vaccine.
“We are ensuring that if anyone wishes to visit Arunachal Pradesh, he or she has to be vaccinated prior to entry,” State Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar told Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla during an online meeting on July 7.
Mr. Kumar said the State had adopted a three-prong strategy to stop the spread of the virus. These were extensive tracking and testing, enforcement of COVID -appropriate behaviour and vaccination.
“Arunachal Pradesh needs an additional 3 lakh COVID vaccines to achieve 100% coverage of beneficiaries in the 18-plus and 45-plus age groups,” he said.
Vaccination as a condition for entry into Arunachal Pradesh follows the State’s bid to provide incentives to people who have been reluctant to take the jab. Officials in the Yazali circle of the State’s Lower Subansiri district were one of the first to offer 20 kg of rice free to the 45-plus for taking the jab.
Some districts of Manipur and Meghalaya also offered cash awards to maximise the vaccination coverage.
Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur linked business and salaries of employees to the vaccination too. While traders and commercial vehicle operators were asked to operate after vaccination or display their vaccination status for customers and passengers to decide whether or not to avail of their services, some frontline workers were told that their vaccination status would be ascertained before payment of salary or wage.
In Meghalaya capital Shillong, some NGOs and a local MLA were panned for leaving out the non-vaccinated people while distributing food items to people without ration cards on July 6.
The organisers of a COVID-19 relief camp in the city’s Happy Valley-Madanriting had announced rice and other essentials would be given only to the vaccinated people despite a Meghalaya High Court saying any kind of discrimination and restriction with regard to vaccination was against the fundamental rights of citizens.