Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), March, 8 :The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to temporarily suspend issuing Protected Area Permits (PAPs) to foreigners to check the spread of coronavirus, officials said on Sunday.
Foreigners require PAPs to enter the state that shares a border with China.
The rise in Covid-19 cases in India has become a matter of concern across shared borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as in areas which see high arrivals of foreign tourists.
Pre-empting the spread of the virus across the northeast, the Arunachal Pradesh government on Sunday decided to temporarily suspend the issuance of Protected Area Permits (PAPs) to foreigners, PTI quoted officials as saying.
State chief secretary Naresh Kumar has directed all PAP issuing authorities to suspend the issue of permits till further orders. PAPs are issued to foreigners to enter the state which shares border with China.
“It is learnt that Covid-19 positive cases have been detected in India and the numbers have been increasing. It is also learnt that the spread of the coronavirus in India is primarily from visitors who had history of travelling abroad recently or through tourists who have visited India,” a government order said, adding “In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Arunachal Pradesh, it has been decided to temporarily suspend issuing Protected Area Permit (PAP).”
While the Union home ministry issued a statement last week saying that India was well prepared to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the ministry said on Sunday that India’s borders at Wagah-Attari and the Karatarpur corridor would remain open to the public and each person was being screened for the virus.
A senior union ministry official added, “The ministry can decide when to close the border. As of now, even the beating retreat parade at Wagah-Attari is on as usual, people are not being allowed to gather in the stadium. Along the border, those who enter India are being thoroughly screened.”
The home ministry has also assured that all land ports are fully equipped with medical teams to screen all incoming passengers from neighbouring countries as well.
It further added that screening points are being set up at international checkpoints at Agartala, where India shares a border with Bangladesh.
The move by Arunachal Pradesh comes on the heels of Sikkim clamping down on the entry of foreigners, with Bhutan recording its first case of Covid-19 last week.
(With PTI inputs )