ITANAGAR: In the wake of the rising number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being reported from across the country, representatives of both God and the government in Arunachal Pradesh have advised its congregation of citizens to take precautionary measures.

There are at least 114 active cases of COVID-19 in India.

A notification issued by the state chief secretary today ordered the suspension of all activities that may lead to a possible spread of the virus till April 5.

Those affected by the shutdown include “all concerned halls/multiplexes/mini cinema hall/night clubs”. The suspension order also called off all weekly bazaars.

It also asked people to “avoid any gatherings” except weddings till the said date.

Shopping malls have been told to be disinfected on a daily basis and schools will remain closed for all activities except for examination purposes.

In order to ensure that the virus does not make its way into the state, the government has also ordered the deputy resident commissioners in various towns and cities outside the state to not issue any inner line permits till further orders.

This comes following the state government’s earlier decision to stop issuing protected area permits and restricted area permits to foreigners wanting to visit the state.

The notification will affect all businesses and institutes across the state.

These orders come in line with similar notifications that have been issued by governments in other north-eastern states where not a single positive case has been reported so far.

Schools have been closed in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura too.

In Assam, even national forests, tiger reserves, and sanctuaries have also been closed.

Apart from the chief secretary’s order, trade along Arunachal Pradesh’s international border with Myanmar at the Pangsau Pass market in Changlang district’s Nampong village will also remain suspended.

The market was temporarily shut down first on February 2.

Nampong sub-divisional officer Ibom Tao today communicated the ban order with his Myanmar counterpart.

In a letter addressed to the town officer, general administration, Myanmar, Tao explained that being a vulnerable border town it will be appropriate to take precautionary measures to contain the spread of the disease.

“As Nampong does not have the capability to counter the pandemic,” Tao said that the movement of people for medical treatment and social visits should also stop for the safety of the people.

He requested his Myanmar counterpart to continue with the ban till the government of India deems it fit and safe to reopen the border.

The state governments of Manipur and Mizoram prohibited the cross-border movements of people along India’s border with Myanmar and Bangladesh last week.

The Arunachal Pradesh state directorate of health services has also issued a statement saying that inspections are being carried out to identify possible cases.

The top floor of the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) in Naharlagun near the state capital, Itanagar, has been assigned as an isolation ward.

Plans are also afoot to chalk-out the team composition of an isolation ward and sample collection centre. In the OPD, it was planned to create a separate corner for COVID-19 screening in order to prevent any mix up with general OPD cases.

While the state is taking preventive measures to control the possible spread of the virus, the Church is not far behind either.

A statement issued by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association (APCA) said that it has issued guidelines to parishes and priests of Catholic Churches to take precaution and preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Former chief minister and APCA chief patron, Nabam Tuki, advised church leaders and members to restrict their movement outside the state till April 30.

The Catholic Church has also made recommendations that include “restriction of holy water pots outside church door and distribution of holy water”.

It said that religious retreat programmes should be deferred, “handshake among believers should be discouraged and those suffering from flu-like symptoms should avoid coming to the church for services and instead pray at home”.

Apart from disinfecting the churches prior to service, the APCA said that “believers from other states should not be invited to the state till April 30”.

Another church organisation, Body of Christ, said that it was suspending a meeting of pastors from 25 districts that was scheduled for April 17.

A statement from the body called upon “believers to continue to pray for God’s intervention in this time of confusion and crisis”.