1,477 returnees arrive; more on the way

1,477 returnees arrive; more on the way
Stranded citizens arrive from Bengaluru, at Dimapur railway station on Friday. (NP)
Staff Reporter/DIPR DIMAPUR, JUN 5 (NPN) | Publish Date: 6/5/2020 12:59:22 PM IST

 A total of 1,477 passengers onboard the Special Shramik train from Bengaluru arrived Dimapur railway station at around 1.50 p.m. on Friday.

The passengers were received at the railway station by APC and Dimapur district in-charge for COVID-19 related activities, Y. Kikheto Sema, food & civil supplies secretary Honje Konyak, commissioner of police Dimapur Rothihu Tetso, deputy commissioner Dimapur Anoop Kinchi, chief medical officer Dimapur Dr Tiasunep, officials from various departments, NGOs, church Leaders and volunteers.

On arrival of the returnees, a prayer was offered by chairman Dimapur Christian Forum, Rev.Moses Murry after which 544 returnees of Dimapur were sent by buses to Agri Expo for registration, screening and triaging by medical team before being despatched to designated quarantine centres. 

The remaining returnees from 10 districts– 82 from Tuensang, 211 from Mon, 60 from Longleng, 56 from Kiphire, 54 from Phek, 166 from Zunheboto, 55 from Mokokchung, 61 from Wokha, 102 from Peren and 86 from Kohima – were screened by a health team at the railway station itself then sent by buses to their respective districts after providing them food packets, snacks and water.

As per the new Standard Operating Procedure, all the returnees were received, screened and despatched by Team Dimapur to their respective districts. 

Lotha Youth Organisation volunteers assisted Team Dimapur in smooth management of the protocols. The food packets for all the passengers were donated by chief minister Neiphiu Rio and his family.

Another Shramik special train carrying around 1,300 people stuck at Ahmedabad in Gujarat is scheduled to arrive at Dimapur on June 8, a PTI report stated.

Frontliners on the edge

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed one of the stiffest challenges ever on the government health and administrative systems including society. Around seven thousand stranded people from Nagaland have returned and several thousand are kept in institutional quarantine centres spread over the state. 
Quarantine facilities in Dimapur are swelling with addition of hundreds of returnees each day. 
The situation in Kohima is also no better while in other districts, the accommodation capacities will not be able to hold even a few hundred arriving in those districts.
As per official sources, Dimapur has the biggest number of beds available for 4643 persons in 91 designated quarantine facilities. However, due to accretion of hundreds from other districts in Dimapur, the committee on COVID-19 related activities headed by Kikheto Sema including the district task force at Dimapur has decided to send returnees to their respective districts. The fate of health team such as doctors, nurses and assistants including those managing various quarantine facilities across the state is a cause for deep concern.
The state does not have adequate number of doctors and nursing staff and this has been compounded by the demands of containing COVID-19. Many doctors and nurses are said to be working long hours and without proper rest. Leave alone rest, many are apprehensive about their safety due to poor quality of PPE.
According to a data provided by Nagaland In-Service Doctors Association (NIDA) most government hospitals were running way below the required strength. NIDA said presently 11 district hospitals were running with 51 Specialists as against the required 207, 63 Non-Specialists as against the 119 required and 200 nursing staff as against the required 645 for all district hospitals.
There are also reports of some unruly scenes created at some quarantine centres as returnees complained of being made to wait long hours for processing and also being accommodated in same rooms with those who were later confirmed as COVID-19 positive cases. 
Even the police personnel on duty at various quarantine facilities and on policing duties were also quite apprehensive about their safety as many have not been issued with proper protective gears. 
The situation is said to be most worrisome in far flung districts where neither adequate medical staff nor facilities are available. In the event of a few hundred requiring intensive treatment for COVID-19 in hospitals, the number of ventilators and other necessary equipments are too few to meet the demands. 
Returnees being sent along with others in the same buses have also only raised the spectre of community spread which could prove most dangerous, say health experts, unless stringent measures are undertaken for tracing. There are also reports of returnees stopping at roadside shops during their journey by buses.

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