Government to probe Tuensang incident
Dimapur, May 30 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has assured that an inquiry will be conducted into the Tuensang incident and examine the issues that led to lapses.
This statement was given by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio during his visit to the quarantine centre at Ganeshnagar in Dimapur May 29.
The chief minister clarified the events surrounding the Tuensang episode. This is the transcript of the chief minister’s speech in audio, which was in Nagamese:
‘As for the government, I am trying to say in the best possible way that the Tuensang episode was not in my knowledge. They made a mistake in the management. Our instruction is that if anyone has to be sent to the districts, the previous day all arrangements have to be done.’
‘In the morning—Nagas have meals by 6-7—so they have to be fed well and tiffins should be packed for them and they should have been sent off. Moreover, they should start by 8:00 am so that they can reach their destination before dark. In Nagaland, if they start early, they would reach their destinations before dark.’
‘However, during our meeting in the night, I was told they had reached Mokokchung. So I said, how come? And we had an argument.’
‘The chief secretary also gave his apology and I also in the video message—because the government policy was okay but the management level was not—stated the government’s regret about the whole episode.’
‘So, on Monday the cabinet will have a sitting and all the SOPs will be reviewed. Also, regarding the Tuensang episode, we have to say that undiplomatic and unpleasant words were also uttered; good words were also said. We have to fight the Coronavirus united and win against this Covid-19.’
The chief minister also assured that an inquiry will be conducted as requested by Tuensang organisations and ENPO.
‘The individuals should have been given food before leaving. They were crossing two districts—so many people and proper coordination should have been done. They were supposed to go early but went only after 2. Everything was a failure. All the problem was our own creation. So although I don’t want to speak ill of anyone, I have to say and accept the failures,’ the chief minister said.
‘So, to know how a communication gap happened, and how the management failed, an inquiry will be initiated for the sake of record and if needed, someone has to be punished for it.’
The pandemic and challenges
Countries across the world including advanced countries were not prepared for the pandemic, he said. They were falling short of physicians, health workers, sanitation workers, and medicine. These countries also stressed only on prevention.
Rio said that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were created to handle the situation when returnees arrive.
But what the government faced was far greater than what they had planned for. The authorities also planned that all the returnees would be kept in Kohima and Dimapur and then be sent to their districts only after testing.
After getting clearance from the Health ministry and the ICMR, the government set up the BSL-3 lab in Kohima. Only 90 tests can be conducted in a day, while only 50 samples can be tested in pool or collective tests at a time, and only nine times collectively.
Thereafter, if one group is negative then the plan was to send that group straight to the district but due to due technical problems till yesterday, May28, pool tests could not be done, he said.
The chief minister said if the returnees show symptoms, all of them will be kept in Dimapur and tested. But those without symptoms would be sent to their districts. Those positive cases would be treated in Dimapur, he said.
The chief minister explained that asymptomatic patients would be segregated in quarantines. He observed that the returnees in the age group 20-40 with good immune system might be able to withstand the infection and by second and third test they most properly would come out negative.
Neiphiu Rio said that the mortality rate is only about 3% globally. About 70% to 80% of those infected are being cured. In India as well as other countries, he said, even symptomatic patients were being sent to home quarantines.
The chief minister appealed to the colonies and villages to allow home quarantines as current restrictions by some of them in the form of not allowing home quarantines, will result in the need to keep people together. And this, he said, will have the infection spreading to more people if they are kept together. He urged the leaders to educate the public regarding home quarantines.