Focus on preparedness

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/30/2020 11:59:41 AM IST

 With seven patients tested COVID-19 positive who died of co-morbidities, while the state health & family welfare department recorded only five in its tally, there is need for serious review of adherence to SOP as well as the entire preparedness. As of July 30,2020 there are 1566 COVID-19 cases recorded in Nagaland. For too long have people believed that COVID-19 was restricted to those returnees and that it was confined within the quarantines. Confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in several colonies in various districts appear to conclusively prove that transmission has gone out of the quarantine facilities and now out there in the open. The vociferous public demand for extension of lockdown in Dimapur and Kohima is a mixture of both misplaced fear and ignorance.In Peren district, which can be considered far-flung like Mon, there had been fears that owing to the mishandling of returnees in quarantine facilities, the virus is gradually spreading rapidly and which has compounded the existing problems faced by the authorities. There have also been fears expressed, that unless there is immediate contact or rapid testing, the virus will spread through community transmission. In fact, the Peren as well as Tuensang episodes reveal how unprepared the state has been in dealing with such a critical challenge. According to a frontline worker, most transmissions within quarantine centres have taken place due to negligence and mishandling. This happened when all returnees were kept together in quarantine facilities before testing. There were some among the returnees who were already asymptomatic and through whom, the virus was transmitted to others. There was a video that went viral where some returnees caused a big scene in protesting against being kept together with some returnees who were reported to be asymptomatic. The other suspicion is that after being overwhelmed with several thousand returnees, those managing the quarantine centres were literally at their wit’s end. The testing was delayed even as swabs of several hundred returnees accumulated since they had to be sent outside the state. The first laboratory –BSL3 became operational only on May 21. Even so, it was still too little as thousands of returnees began arriving back from various states, and many from the ‘Red Zone’ districts where COVID-19 transmission assumed menacing proportions. Faced with restive and near-rebellion in some quarantine centres, authorities were in a way, quite relieved when the situation made them release hundreds of returnees, who had completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. This was reported in Peren when some who were asymptomatic were placed together with non-symptomatic and released after the mandatory period without conducting the second mandatory testing. Be that as it may there are over 14,000 who have been released from quarantine centres and how many have been conclusively tested is a matter of debate. Transmissions taking place at several colonies and market places in Nagaland need to be verified since in some cases, it was reported that there had been no travel history or even known source of contact. What is most worrying not only in Nagaland but in states where health sector is in shambles, is that COVID-19 could prove to be the nemesis.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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