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Epidemiologist turns Maruti Alto into ambulance to trace Covid contacts in Arunachal district

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: In the absence of an ambulance in Arunachal Pradesh’s Kamle district, an epidemiologist has been using his old Maruti Alto car to drive around to conduct contact tracing of the first Covid-19 case in the area.

In a photo that has been widely shared on social media, Dr Kapu Tapu and a staffer can be seen in full PPE, driving around Raga town of Kamle district to collect samples for antigen tests.

The district had registered its first novel coronavirus positive case Wednesday. The patient, who had returned from Itanagar, has been shifted to a Covid care centre at the circuit house of Raga.

District Surveillance Officer Dr Kapu Sopin reportedly said, “For contact tracing, there is no vehicle for staffers. The lone ambulance is very old, on and off road. It is now used for shifting the Covid-19 positive case. It may stop functioning at any moment.”

Dr Sopin also said that no ambulance had been provided by the administration since 2017 when Kamle district was created.

Also read: ‘Chutia’ not slang but Assamese surname, says woman whose online job application was rejected

Quarantine team undertakes 30-km journey through flooded river, muddy roads

A medical team in Arunachal Pradesh recently took up a 30-km-long journey, crossing a flooded river and wading through muddy roads to home quarantine a woman and her contacts in a remote village in the state’s Papum Pare district.

The woman had gone to neighbouring Assam’s Sonitpur district to meet her relatives but failed to inform authorities in either state. She returned home to Karbi Colony in Papum Pare on 18 July.

On being informed, a medical team led by Dr Simanto Borah of the Tarasso Public Health Centre undertook the journey on 19 July to reach Karbi Colony and home quarantine the woman and her contacts.

Health officials completed a portion of their journey on motorcycles and the remaining distance on foot, crossing the Tarasso river which is in spate due to the floods.

A video of their journey has been widely shared on social media, including by state Chief Minister Pema Khandu.


Prince William, wife Kate ‘shocked’ by Kaziranga Park flooding

In a letter to P. Sivakumar, director of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton have expressed shock at the devastating Assam floods which have killed 123 animals, including 12 rhinos so far.

In the letter, dated 21 July, the royal couple recalled their visit to the park in 2016, and said, “We have the happiest memories of our visit to Kaziranga in April 2016 and are shocked by what has happened.

“The deaths of so many animals, including one-horned rhino, are deeply upsetting. We know from our visit how dedicated all the staff in Kaziranga are in caring for the park’s wildlife and can only begin to imagine what a difficult time this must be.”

The Prince went on to say that his wife and he “greatly admire all the work” that was being done by the director and rangers at Kaziranga to rescue the animals and contain the damage.

Sivakumar said the letter was a “morale booster”.

22 earthquakes shake Mizoram in a month, Champal district spends nights in makeshift tents

Residents of Champhai district in Mizoram have been spending nights under makeshift tents after the area saw at least 20 earthquakes in the last one month.

Around 22 earthquakes have rocked the districts of Champhai, Saitual, Siaha and Serchhip in Mizoram since 18 June, with Champhai being the worst-hit. The tremors have ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 in magnitude.

Champhai district deputy commissioner, Maria C.T. Zuali was quoted as saying that more than 16 villages were affected and over 170 houses damaged by the earthqaukes.

There are at least five makeshift camps at Dungtlang, one of the worst-hit villages, in Champhal.

Also read: Arunachal’s ‘invisible men’ and why nature activists are opposing an IAF bombing exercise


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