The story behind paid quarantine centres in Kohima
Kohima, June 9 (EMN): When the Kohima district administration initially requisitioned hotels and institutions in and around the capital for use as quarantine centres, there were objections as neighborhoods and owners complained against the authorities setting up centres in populated areas in the capital town.
The deputy commissioner of Kohima, Gregory Thejawelie discussed how negotiations and dialogue resolved the issues, and led to a consensus during an extraordinary circumstance caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, seven hotels in Kohima have been requisitioned as government paid quarantine centres, provided that the returnees strictly follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) stipulated by the district’s chief medical officer (CMO), and the Health department.
“We have already engaged seven hotels in Kohima town and activated them, and process has started,” Thejawelie said during interactions with media persons at his office chamber in Kohima on Monday.
Initially, there were a lot of objection, he said. One of the hotels came up with banners in protest against the order, another proprietor objected to the decision, and residents complained against the facility within their locality.
Seeing all these objections, the deputy commissioner called them and explained the existing situation. After being able to sit across the table and discuss the issue, the issue could be resolved, Thejawelie said.
“A lot of negotiations, side-by-side with the orders that we come up (with), we don’t want to make any issue. As far as possible, we believe that through talks and negotiations, calling them and explaining things, really helps, which is why we are able to use all these facilities,” Thejawelie said. He thanked the people for their ‘cooperation’ in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sometimes, out of fear and panic, people do not want to think out of the box. He hoped that the people would learn more about it and come up with the best possible arrangements in the days to come.
The official assured that the administration was trying its best to address issues. He added that “This (situation) is not something for which we have been trained. This is an extra (ordinary) circumstances which nobody thought of. Who would imagine that one day, people stranded outside will start coming back at a time,” Thejawelie went on to add.
In spite of the criticism, he said the authorities are giving their best, and working overtime, and trying to tackle many issues. “Even our hands are full,” the DC said.
As of Monday, about five returnees have been accommodated in the paid quarantine facilities. He informed that people have started booking and have been calling up, or sending their family members through whom forms and SOPs to be followed are given. All these processes are done through a committee of officers and representatives of the hotels’ association, he said.
A facilitation centre at the DC’s office, establishment branch, has been set up with a sub-divisional-officer (civil) taking charge of the centre. Bookings are available on first-come-first basis but preference is given to people having past medical records, and pregnant women, subject to production of medical records in accordance with the SOP of the CMO.
As for the tariff, he said the hotels will charge their own rates. However, hotels were also asked to produce a copy of rates which had been made already. Returnees will mandatorily undergo 14 days at paid or facility quarantine centres and 14 days of home quarantine.
Earlier, the DC had issued an order in mid-May ordering requisitioning of five institutions including private colleges as quarantine centres. He iterated the administration is still ready with that and will go ahead if required. “If there is further requirement surely we will make use of it,” he said.
It may be mentioned that one institution—Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Kohima—have started accommodating returnees from the red zones including the recent returnees from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Giving more updates on the quarantine centres, the DC said there is an about 501-capacity facility at Meriema. But in some rooms, toilets are not functioning well and there is no water. Even at K Badze, there is a count of 1360-capacity facility is there but there are some problems with a few blocks. For that, capacity has been slightly reduced, he said.
Nonetheless, he said a maintenance committee has been set up, and to address the issues, thereby making it able to make maximum use of the rooms by rectifying defects where required.
With the recent set up of quarantine centres at the Indira Gandhi Stadium besides other quarantine centres that are in place, he said that the district will be able to handle all the returnees.
Earlier, Kohima district was handling returnees from seven other districts. But now, each district is responsible for receiving people from their own district. As for Kohima district, the DC said that a liaison officer and two others have been deputed to Dimapur to receive Kohima district returnees at all entry points including from the railways, roads, and flights.
Thejawelie informed that once the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima, now Covid-19 hospital’s capacity is exhausted, the TB hospital at Khuzama will be made operational.