Editorial

Containing the uncontainable

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/29/2020 12:46:14 PM IST

 Nagaland’s COVID-19 tally at 451 as on June 29,2020 is a quantum leap from ‘zero’ on April 30,2020.The state officially recorded its first three COVID-19 cases on May 25 when three persons who recently returned to the state tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Earlier on April 13, the state did not accept a patient who was tested positive in the Guwahati Medical College Hospital(GMCH) after being referred from Dimapur. The spike in COVID-19 cases has been attributed mainly on around 1500 stranded persons who returned by the Special Shramik Train from Chennai, a Red Zone area. The number of cases confirmed as positive for COVID-19 since May 25 has been rising at an average of around 15 cases each day. The state’s testing facilities have recently been strengthened with the inauguration of the second laboratory (BSL-2) at Dimapur in addition to the BSL-3 at Kohima. Portable TrueNat machines have also been installed at various district headquarters. The government of Nagaland has been revising its Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) in line with the ICMR’s advisory. The quarantine facilities in some areas, especially Dimapur is already overcrowded. Team Dimapur, tasked with the handling of COVID-19 related activities, has suggested that those who have been tested negative and completed their 14-day quarantine period should be released for home quarantine. According to the team, there were also several hundred returnees who had “overstayed the mandatory 14 days of institutional quarantine” ranging from 14 to 27 days without their swab samples being collected for testing. The issue over quarantine centres across Nagaland has occupied the attention mainly since all the COVID-19 cases have been overwhelmingly from returnees. Besides this, there have also been reports of quarantine inmates slipping in and out. This is a serious threat on the safety of the people outside when they are exposed to inmates who are COVID-19 positive. There are cases where returnees had stopped buses to shop by roadsides. Those who came into contact with the returnees have had to be quarantined for at least 14-days. As per the SOPs, those who have completed their mandatory 14-day quarantine period and who have recovered are released and advised home quarantine. However, according to virologists, the coronavirus or COVID-19 can remain alive inside the infected person for 37 days or safely, 40 days. Therefore, in order to ensure that nothing was left to chance, it has been suggested that the total period for further self quarantine should be another 26 days. The problem is that nobody is quite sure about coronavirus as more information as scientists continue to do research. It is also important that the government and NGOs also focus on the possibility of the virus already being out there in the streets and areas. Many who are not in quarantines have probably not disclosed their health status for fear of stigmatisation or unwillingness to undergo quarantine. Besides that, there could be some asymptomatic patients who could pass on the virus on others. Even WHO had to rewrite its previous conclusion that it is very rare for an asymptomatic patient to infect another. Asymptomatic describe people who haven’t started showing symptoms yet, when they are presymptomatic. Research has shown that people become infectious before they start feeling sick, during that presymptomatic period. Authorities need to accept that coronavirus is not restricted inside quarantines but is now rampaging in other states, in the form of community transmission. 

 

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