Nagaland has highest Covid-19 death rate in Northeast
Kohima, July 19 (EMN): Tongpang Ozukum, minister in-charge for Kohima district task force (DTF) stated that Nagaland stands second in the country with the lowest Covid-19 testing and vaccination rate, while it is the state with the highest Covid-19 death rate among the Northeastern states.
He was speaking during a sensitisation programme on Covid-19 testing and vaccination organised by DTF at Kohima village council hall on Monday in Kohima.
As part of the pandemic preparedness and response, the government has initiated an awareness programme in and around Kohima to scale up Covid-19 testing and get more people immunised.
Ozukum, who is also the minister of PWD (Housing and Mechanical), asserted that the Central government has already imposed the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in the country to tackle the pandemic and accordingly the state government is also promulgating and enforcing the order.
He apprised that the reason for conducting the awareness programme was to enhance the test and immunisation against Covid for the safety of oneself as well as the society, while informing that Delta variant of Covid-19 has already reached Kohima.
Ozukum appealed to the people to understand the situation and comply with the advice of the government so that more people with suspicious Covid symptoms may open up and come forward in getting tested while timely vaccines could be administered for the safekeeping of everyone.
He also reminded people to do away with rumours and false information on Covid-19 vaccine which was developed only to immunise the immune system to withstand the infectious virus.
Dr. Neikeisalie Kire, advisor of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, expressed disappointment that citizens in Kohima continue to flout SOPs despite increasing cases in the district.
He cited an example of neighbouring states like Mizoram, which enforce pandemic guidelines strictly to tackle Covid-19 transmission. Kire said the authority in Mizoram is such that it announces the name of any citizen found visiting people at their homes with a fine of INR 200.
He observed that citizens in Nagaland won’t be able to comply with such a rule if it was imposed in the state because of our wrong attitude towards the rules and regulations.
Kire also maintained that even if people have self testing kits at homes, people would not come forward and honestly declare oneself positive for fear of stigmatisation in the society.
However, he appealed to the citizens to practise honesty in the event of developing symptoms related to Covid-19 for themselves and the safety of others.
Stating that the chief minister of Nagaland and many other legislators have also been vaccinated, he asked those unvaccinated to take the jab.
Medo Yhokha, advisor for Election and Higher Education who was also present at the event, sought for a collective effort to combat the dreaded disease as the government alone cannot tackle the pandemic alone.
He asserted that the authority would be compelled to enforce total lockdown much against everyone’s wishes if people keep on violating Covid appropriate behaviour.
Cautioning that the health infrastructure will be overwhelmed if the Covid-19 third wave hits the state, he made an earnest request to all to implement SOPs strictly while getting immunised and equip oneself to beat the virus while the time is right.
Dr Vezokholu Theyo, chief medical officer (CMO) of Kohima stated that unlike the first wave of Covid-19, the second wave is “aggressive” as Delta variant is being detected and rapidly spreading.
She highlighted how the whole household could be quickly infected with the presence of a family member having positive symptoms of the virus.
She pointed out how people are becoming fatigued of Covid-19 situation which is why many are not coming forward to get tested even if they have signs of Covid-19 symptoms. Another reason for less turnout for testing, she said, was due to fear of social stigmatisation.
Theyo informed that if a person is tested positive, the patient can be isolated for 10 days as such days are the infective period. Thereafter, she said the person can be home quarantined for another seven days before being discharged fully and that no retest is required as per the revised discharge policy.
As such, she advocated for early testing, so that such positive patients can be isolated and treated in order to decrease severity of the disease.
Theyo reminded people to avail the facilities as rapid antigen tests are now conducted in all government health facilities at free of cost.
The CMO also emphasised on the importance of inoculation as a preventive measure against the infection. However, she said that though vaccines are available, “time is the factor”. As such, she called for early immunisation while stating that the purpose of vaccination was to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission.
As such, she reminded people to receive the jab on time, informing that the government is administering Covishiled at free of cost for all above 18 years of age.
Gregory Thejawelie, deputy commissioner and chairman of DTF, stated that many advanced countries have begun their normal activities back because of strong measures and vaccination. As such, he also made an appeal to immunise oneself with the available vaccines in the state to overcome the infection.
He also warned that a time may come when the authority will be compelled to use stringent actions to tackle the pandemic as per the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Zeneituo Yano, president of Northern Angami Public Organisation (NAPO) assured of their stand to support whatever decision is taken by the authority to control the Covid-19 transmission.
Besides, NAPO, Representatives of Northern Angami Youth Organisation (NAYO), Northern Angami Students’ Union (NASU) and village councils also attended the programme.