COVID-19 spread threatens Peren dist

Staff Reporter/Correspondent DIMAPUR/KOHIMA, JUL 1 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/1/2020 1:27:37 PM IST


Peren district faces serious threat of COVID-19 community transmission unless immediate preventive steps are taken by authorities over reports that some of the returnees may have contracted the virus while being quarantined with the 31 tested positive. On Wednesday, 31 of the returnees were tested positive: 29 were among the 96 from Haryana and 2  from Chennai.

However, the threat of community transmission arose when returnees from Haryana were segregated from Chennai returnees in quarantine facilities before they were released to their respective community quarantine centres.

It was feared that at least one or some of those tested negative may have gone for home quarantine, thus opening the door to community transmission of COVID-19.

The grim situation was brought to the fore by Leader of the Opposition (LoO) T.R. Zeliang in a letter addressed to the chief minister. In his letter, Zeliang said that the “alarmingly high number” of COVID-19 positive cases detected from among the 96 Haryana returnees (54 males and 42 females), who were now settled in their respective villages under Peren district, portrayed “a perilous future for all of us.” 

Zeliang disclosed that the returnees were brought to Peren district from quarantine centres at New DC Complex, Chümoukedima and Livingstone Higher Secondary School, Dimapur. On arrival, he said the returnees were then sent to their respective villages without completing 14-day quarantine and ascertaining their COVID-19 status at the district level. 

Zeliang claimed that only after reaching their respective villages, were test samples collected and sent to Bio Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima. 

He said out of the total samples, many have tested positive while more results were awaited.

Zeliang, while expressing serious concern over the prevailing COVID-19 situation, said “community transmission may unfortunately become a reality very soon”. Therefore, Zeliang in his letter to the chief minister sought priority attention since Peren has “become among the worst-hit district by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Zeliang also recalled that on June 3, COVID-19 positive patient from Peren district was sent along with 16 other returnees who had tested negative for COVID-19, to Peren district from Dimapur and which exposed the entire district to immense risk. 

Subsequently, he said the Joint Action Committee (JAC) on COVID-19 Peren district submitted a representation requesting the chief minister to initiate action against erring personnel responsible for the disaster.

Zeliang said that since there was no positive action on the matter, the Zeliangrong Students Union, Nagaland (ZSUN) served an ultimatum on June 10, 2020, but has not come to any logical conclusion till date.

When contacted, a Health department official confirmed that out of 31 positive cases-- 29 were Haryana returnees and 2 Chennai returnees. The official maintained that the returnees, after being tested negative and upon completing the 14-day facility quarantine period in Dimapur were sent to Peren district. On reaching Peren, they were again segregated at quarantine facilities for another 14 days. Since the returnees did not show any symptom, they were discharged after being issued with medical certificate, the official said.

The official, however, clarified that none of them were sent home and that the department was in the process of shifting them to the Covid care centre.

However, a source from Joint Action Committee (JAC) on COVID-19 Peren district disclosed that on the night of June 23, the 96 returnees from Haryana were released from the quarantine facility without conducting the second test.

On learning that the second test on returnees for COVID-19 was not done, those in Jalukie town and nearby villages protested on June 24.

In response, the source said doctors then assured to track all the returnees and conduct the second test. Accordingly, the returnees were tracked and samples collected and sent for test where 29 from among Haryana returnees tested positive on Wednesday, the source added.

The JAC source also said that some of the returnees were still lodged at the community quarantine centre while some may have left for home quarantine.

The source also informed that Peren district hospital was currently functioning without a chief medical officer as incumbent was posted out on promotion as additional director. A junior doctor was given charge as officiating CMO and till date.

Containment & contact tracing

The deputy commissioner Peren on Wednesday directed officials- ADCs and SDO- to activate “containment of specific buildings, homes, wards and colonies” depending on where the positive cases from Haryana were currently accommodated and to immediately begin contact tracing.

The DC also informed that the results of few more were awaited.

When contacted, a district official confirmed to Nagaland Post about the directive. 

Meanwhile, sources informed that out of 96 samples that were tested, 31 turned out positive and 39 were negative while results of 26 were still awaited.



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