No need to panic over coronavirus, says Nagaland health officials
Monday, March 20, 2023

No need to panic over coronavirus, says Nagaland health officials

By Our Correspondent Updated: Mar 09, 2020 11:31 pm

Our Correspondent
Kohima, March 9 (EMN):
According to officials from the department of Health and Family Welfare (H&FW), they are “keeping vigil” at the railway station in Dimapur as well as at the border areas, in the wake of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) scare. 

Principal Director of the department Dr. Vizolie Suokhrie and Dr. Nyan Kikon, State Nodal Officer (IDSP) and Deputy Director, stated this in an interaction with journalists in Kohima on Monday.

“To identify at the railway and bus stations and to screen all these people is going to be a difficult task. If need be, support from police, administration, and other departments is required. Therefore, we are having a serious discussion on this,” Suokhrie said.

Apart from the Home department’s recent directive to seal all borders, he said that tracing is already there, particularly in Mon district. The department has also taken a step further to scan visitors from the region. However, no active scanning is initiated in Assam and Manipur borders although the department is keeping vigil in these areas, he added. 

According to standard operating procedures of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there is no clear-cut directive regarding railway and roadway screening, said Dr. Kikon.

“It is not a mandatory thing that railways and roadways should be also screened as how we do intensive screening in the respective airports,” he added. 

The department had a meeting with railway authorities and medical units of railways. “As and when positive case is found, then contact tracing is done,” the officer said. 

‘Will ban tourists if only needed’
The principal director said that if situation requires a ban on tourists from entering the state, “we will do so”.

‘However, the government of India has made it very clear from the beginning, which visitors from which countries are to be banned,’ he informed.

Further, in a recent advisory, the ministry has directed to withdraw visas from affected countries. Therefore, “we don’t need to do anything”, he added.

Further, those coming from suspected countries have been already screened at the entry level that is, the international airport and port entries. Therefore, people do not need to panic about it, he added.

Five quarantined, 245 screened
Giving an update of the scenario in Nagaland, the principal director said that five individuals have been home-quarantined while 245 persons coming from affected countries including China have been screened. He assured that there is no confirmed case in the state. Further, no sample has been sent for testing so far. He also dismissed rumours doing the round in social media and urged citizens to stop spreading rumours. 

On Nagaland’s preparedness for the Covid-19, he said that the state has strengthened all surveillance and control measures against the possible spread of the disease.

The chief minister, minister for H&FW and chief secretary, have conducted a meeting and situation update, he added. 

Office memorandum with regard to schools and biometrics, hand sanitisers and travel advisory to refrain or postpone travelling outside the state have been issued on March 7, he said. Further, district task forces, headed by deputy commissioners have been formed in all districts.

A total of 52 beds in isolation wards of public/military hospitals have been identified and kept ready. It is also preparing for more beds, which will be made available soon, he added. In addition, about 100 beds in total are to be placed in Kohima and Dimapur, he informed. 

Suokhrie assured that personal protection equipments (PPE), N95 masks, hand-held thermal screeners are available and have been distributed in all districts. 

While screening of passengers at Dimapur Airport started on January 30, ‘universal screening’ had been taken up on February 7 and screening international tourists started on March 7.

For any query regarding Covid-19, the department has urged citizens to call on 24×7 helpline numbers 7005415243/9854071745/7005536953 that are in operation. It further assured to clarify doubts immediately.

‘State training of trainers’ is scheduled to be held on March 11 at 10 am at the directorate conference hall, which will be followed by district -level training, to be completed within 10 days. ‘This is to step up, prepare and respond to Covid-19,’ he added. 

According to the principal director, the surveillance system of the country is “robust”, which definitely requires improving as and when necessity arises. Every day, travel advisories are revised, he added.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Mar 09, 2020 11:31:44 pm