Rigorous policing helped make A & N coronavirus-free: DGP

(Rptg after correcting typo in header) Port Blair, May 17 (PTI) Rigorous policing to strictly impose lockdown restrictions has helped Andaman and Nicorbar islands become free of the killer coronavirus pandemic, its police chief Dependra Pathak said.

All the 33 COVID-19 patients have been cured and sent to their homes from hospitals a week ago and since then there has been no report of any new case of infection in the islands, Pathak said on Saturday.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a union territory comprising of a group of 572 islands of which 37 are inhabited at the juncture of Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

Novel coronavirus was reported in the islands when nine participants of Delhi's Nizamuddin Tablighi Jamaat congregatoion returned here on March 24.

Two of the Jamaatis who had tested positive were swiftly moved to hospital from the airport here itself when they returned and the rest seven were sent to institutional quarantine, the director general of police said.

'It is during interrogation of these people that the details of the Tablighi Jamaat in mid-March meet came to light and accordingly we informed Delhi about it,' Pathak, who had hiself served with the Delhi police for long, told PTI.

'We managed well the first wave of infection with the arrival of the Jamaatis, but unfortunately two others who had gone to Chennai tested positive for the virus on return', he said.

The two persons infected 24 others and the disease spread taking the count of coronavirus positive patients to 33 a week ago. 'This forced us to go for the rigorous containment exercise,' Pathak said.

Under the exercise the police strictly enforced the lockdown related restrictions which were promulgated by the Centre across the country.

The tough policing resulted in the arrest of 190 violators of lockdown rules till May 15, registration of 200 cases and realisation of Rs 30 lakh by way of penalty, the DGP said.

The police, which has its presence in all the inhabited islands of the union territory, meticulously implemented the shutdown norms and cracked the whip on the violators, he said.

As a part of the measure to contain COVID-19 the Andaman and Nicobar police also kept a close watch over any infiltration bid in the islands, which have borders with Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, Pathak said.

Inter-islands movement was stopped since March 21 and the door was shut to tourists from March 16 onwards in view of the pandemic,he said.

With the improvement in the situation and in the backdrop of Union government's relaxations in lockdown-related curbs, the UT is giving one-time and one-way opportunity to the stranded people to return to their homes in the different islands.

The island adminstration is also making arrangements to send ships to Chennai and Kolkata ports soon to ferry its citizens stuck in different states during the lockdown triggered by the pandemic, Pathak said.

The administration is now gearing up to face the challenge to maintain the zero coronavirus status in future in view of these movements, he added. PTI SNS KK KK KK KK