ITANAGAR: The COVID-19 test result of a person from Arunachal Pradesh with signs of fever returning from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is currently awaited after a swab sample was collected at the railway station in Dibrugarh yesterday.

An official source informed The Citizen that one person from Varanasi, whose body temperature was slightly higher than normal, was onboard a train coming from Delhi to Dibrugarh railway station.

The person then arrived at Banderdewa in a car and has been quarantined at the facility at the Police Training Centre.

The result of the test is expected by Wednesday evening.

As more students and others make their way back to the state, the Arunachal Pradesh government is bracing itself so as to not be overwhelmed.

One government official said that the staff at the PTC in Banderdewa will be under immense pressure this week with more people returning.

“Around 110 people turned up at the PTC from Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi,” he said.

Secretary to the State Health Department, P Parthiban, said that more than 12,000 people from Arunachal Pradesh, residing in different states, had registered to return.

While the state government had announced plans to bring people back in a phased manner starting with those stranded in states in the Northeast, that has not been the case.

Even after the government announced its plans of a phased-return, students from Delhi and Kota in Rajasthan had embarked on a journey to get back.

Parthiban said that the government “cannot say ‘no’ to anyone” and that it is prepared to “welcome all irrespective of what colour-designated zone they come from”.

He claimed that the state government is ‘well-prepared’ to accept the returnees with over 200 officers across the state given duties relating to people’s return.

However, he admitted that despite the government designated quarantine centres and paid quarantine facilities, not all those who return can be housed for 14 days. He informed that currently about 10,000 people can be housed at one time in quarantine facilities in the state.

So far, once people return to the state, they are kept at quarantine centres for at least three days after which their swab samples are collected and sent for testing. If they test negative for COVID-19, they are released and told to stay in home quarantine for 14 days.

But, the administration has found monitoring home quarantine to be a difficult task.

Several officials from the administration and health department said that people are not following home quarantine guidelines.

The coordination officer for quarantine, Dr Gomi Basar, confirmed that the state’s limited resources mean that people cannot be kept at quarantine centres for the full duration of 14 days.

Basar said that people need to understand and take precautionary measures themselves.

“Most people think that if their primary results are negative, they are fine and begin to roam around outside their homes. They need to be more careful,” he said.

It’s a concern that the health secretary also shares.

Parthiban said that while the government is monitoring the movement of people in home quarantine, the authorities are receiving complaints that not everyone is adhering to the guidelines.

“People have a responsibility to themselves but they should also exercise self-discipline keeping in mind their families and other people,” he said.

Basar said that he understands not every family in Arunachal Pradesh will have a room to spare to care for a person placed under home quarantine.

“In that scenario perhaps the family can self-isolate,” he said.

With the return of several more people expected in the coming weeks, Basar said that people who had gone to bigger cities to seek medical care and will be returning could be at higher risk of removing the COVID-free status of the state.