Pangnyu inaugurates BSL-2 at CIHSR

Pangnyu inaugurates BSL-2 at CIHSR
S. Pangnyu Phom inaugurating the BSL-2 lab at CIHSR. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JUN 27 (NPN) | Publish Date: 6/27/2020 1:19:11 PM IST

Says Covid-19 testing priority; no community transmission so far

State Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) minister S. Pangnyu Phom Saturday inaugurated the much awaited Bio Safety Level-2 (BSL-2) laboratory at Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CIHSR).

Speaking at the inaugural, Pangnyu underscored the importance of extensive testing in the fight against COVID-19 and assured that, so far, there was no community transmission in the state.

Pangnyu said June 27, 2020 was a significant day for the people of Nagaland because despite “untold difficulties” two Bio Safety laboratories at NHAK and CIHSR have been set up within two months.  With the installation of BSL-2 lab, the minister said the department can now increase its COVID-19 testing capacity and complete testing of all those at institutional quarantine centres (QCs) at the earliest. In order to further boost the testing capacity, Pangnyu said  the state government had also acquired TrueNat machines and distributed the same to all the eleven districts. 

The sole objective is to maximize testing capacity, he said, adding the department was also working on a war footing to complete the BSL-2 at District Hospital Tuensang.

As reported earlier by Nagaland Post, the minister reiterated that “civil work” at DHD Tuensang was underway and that world-class equipment was being procured for installation. He informed that the BSL-2 at DHD Tuensang was likely to be completed by July end.

Though Nagaland has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, Pangnyu appealed to the people to not panic as all the cases were detected from amongst the returnees, currently stationed at institutional QCs. 

Referring to the frontline workers who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Kohima and Mon, the minister said that there was no need to panic or spread rumours as there were no reports of community spread so far.

He pointed out that as soon as the cases were detected, the respective District Task Force swung into action and took all precautionary measures to prevent any possible community spread.

“I assure the people that so far we do not have any community spread. Therefore, I urge the people not to panic or spread rumours but to follow the SOP and guidelines issued by the government,” said Pangnyu.

In his message to the returnees at different quarantine centre across the state, Pangnyu said the state government under the leadership of chief minister, Neiphiu Rio was doing its best to provide the “best service” to each one of them.

He acknowledged that despite “best efforts” and sacrifices from all those in the frontline, some “unfortunate incidents” have been reported. However, he assured the returnees that the High Powered Committee on COVID-19 activities under the chairmanship of the chief minister was committed to resolve any issue. 

“I know that all of you are undergoing tremendous stress, both physically and mentally, but be rest assured that we are all here to help you,” said Pangnyu. Seeking the support and cooperation of all returnees to fight the deadly virus, Pangynu urged them to reach out to the appropriate authority in case of any grievances and not resort to violence. 

To those undergoing mental stress, the minister urged them to avail the counseling service provided by the government.

As the entire country was under the process to “unlock”, Pangnyu urged the people of Nagaland to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the state government.

Though many restrictions have been lifted, Pangnyu warned that it did not mean that the pandemic was over. He asked the people to honour the sacrifices of those at the frontline by following the guidelines. 

Earlier, in his brief address, PHED minister, Jacob Zhimomi said the dream of the people of Nagaland and citizens of Dimapur district to have a Bio Safety Laboratory has materialized.

Asserting that the state government was committed to contain COVID-19 pandemic, Jacob said this was only possible with the support and cooperation of the people of Nagaland.

Citing various allegations and criticisms faced by the government and H&FW department in particular, Jacob said it was imperative for the people to understand that most countries including the superpower countries, with world-class health infrastructures, were caught unprepared by the pandemic.

Stating that people of Nagaland were yet to grasp the gravity of the situation, Zhimomi called upon all to be more responsible and sensitive towards the ongoing global pandemic.

In his welcome address, director CIHSR, Dr. Sedevi Angami said the BSL-2 laboratory had been especially “created” to augment the testing of the COVID-19 patients in the state.

Dr. Sedevi said BSL-2 was a unique state of art facility which houses Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machine and its entire related infrastructure.

Putting to rest all speculations of possible spread of viruses through the laboratory, Dr. Sedevi said BSL-2 laboratory facility was an “extremely safe facility” for those working inside. He said there was very little chance that any organism that would escape from the lab to the outside world, if all the protocols were observed religiously. 

Thanking the state government for providing CIHSR and people of Nagaland with the such a facility, Dr. Sedevi said the team would make best use of the lab to conduct tests related COVID-19 and others diseases instead of sending them outside.

“This facility also enhances our capability of conducting several researches at a molecular level related to the peculiar disease patterns that exist in our state and region,” said Dr. Sedevi.

The inaugural programme began with an invocation by CIHSR chaplain, Aonukstung and concluded with benediction by deputy director (Admin) CIHSR, Dr. Viu Meru.

The programmme was attended by advisors – Tovihoto Ayemi, Zhaleo Rio, Toshi Wungtung and Azheto Zhimomi, MLA; APC and Dimapur in-charge of COVID-19 related activities, Y Kikheto Sema; secretary H&FW Kesonyu Yhome; deputy commissioner Dimapur, Anoop Khinchi; Commissioner of Police Dimapur, Rothihu Tetseo; Chief Medical Officer Dimapur, Dr. Tiasunup and Medical Superintendent (MS) Dimapur, Dr. Kheshito and host of other officials.

Meanwhile, CIHSR management informed that the hospital has been assessed and found to comply with National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) pre accreditation entry level-hospital requirements. The certificate issued by NABH was unveiled by minister, Jacob Zhimomi. 


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