Post Mortem

Together, we progress

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/2/2020 11:11:59 AM IST

 Association of Kohima Municipal Wards Panchayat (AKMWP) was privileged to simulate and consider the varied evolving scenarios in the eminent end of the 21 days nation lockdown and the subsequent likelihood of the State Government having to consider and find the best and safest path to lead its people from the current Global COVID-19 Pandemic situation. AKMWP, as a responsible apex body of the entire Wards, Panchayats, sectors, colonies within the territorial limits of the municipality of Kohima, is obliged to make an earnest appeal for the well being of the people of the state in general and the residents under the Kohima municipality in particular.

Appeal I is to all citizens, NGOs, unions and by whatsoever name called, to adhere to the Fundamental Duties and extend all possible assistance to the Government in the greater interest of our Collective Safety. 

Appeal II is to the State Government, its agencies, District Administration, KMC and other authorities to consider this appeal on its merits and an assurance to continue rendering even greater support in our common fight against COVID19 Pandemic.

Appeal I

The AKMWP, recognizing the need of a unified team, starting from an individual citizen, families, communities... Upto the Governments of the state, nation and even a coordinated collective effort at the international level through the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises the need for all to faithfully execute our duties to the best extent possible, in the collective fight against COVID-19, pleads and reminds all individual citizens, NGOs, unions, etc under the territorial limits of Kohima Municipality to acknowledge, respect and obey the authority of the lawfully established Government and to extend all possible cooperation. At any extraordinary emergent times, the Government of the day is the legitimate, empowered institution with resources and know-how and can be held accountable. How we emerge later will depend on the trust, respect, compliance and co-operation of the citizens. This requires us to re-assess our priorities, review grievance redressal exercise patience and pace oneself, put off strikes protests temporarily and take all possible measures to ensure that no diversion of time, attention and resources of the Government from the task. 

It is entirely another matter for the Government of the day to live up to it and clear any mistrust and win back the confidence of the public.

In this connection, special mention of the Kohima Village Council (KVC) in agreeing to permit burial of Covid-19 dead bodies, within its  ancestral lands, is noteworthy and deserves our appreciation. In the midst of widespread panic stirred up by the COVID-19 pandemic, KVC with a calm rational mindset displayed its confidence in the Government and the Health and Family Welfare Department that observance of COVID-19 guidelines, in addition to strict conformance of the specified procedures in disinfection, sealing, disposal of the corpse, etc., will not enhance the likelihood of contracting or spreading the disease, therefore we need not restrict ourselves from performing our duties and obligations. It is indeed a beacon of light showing our villages and communities not to bury our heads in the sands but be open to scientific reasoning and cooperate with our Government, whose primary role is our safety and well-being.

On the other hand, reports of a person being stopped from coming home by some neighbours was most unfortunate and deserves utmost condemnation. Such shameful acts of individuals or groups shows blatant disregard and defiance of the rule of law and respects to fellow citizens and therefore shall be inviting serious action upon themselves. 

The Quarantine period was observed, multiple tests had yielded negative results and eventually was duly certified to be free from the disease by the empowered authority, however, rationality couldn’t help the one-track mind set.

The mere coincidence of having been a co passenger of COVID-19 carrier, in that ill fated commercial flight to Dimapur does not merit such treatment and therefore the matter requires prompt redressal.

Appeal II

A. It is for the Government to determine the course of action after the expiry of the 21 days National lockdown. In this respect, the association would like to convey its apprehension on the dangers of a sudden and complete lifting of lockdown. This will cause a sudden burst of activities and may undo all we have achieved through these long days of lockdown.

The other area of concern is that certain untraced attendees of religious conventions (hotspots of COVID-19) are believed to be cooling their heels in neighbouring states and eager to crossover with the first opportunity. Suitable countermeasures are urgently requested. 

The extent of troubles and difficulties endured by the economically disadvantaged, daily labourers, wage earners, small businesses, stranded students and the likes has been much painful and if lock down should be continued, a fresh relook into alleviating their miseries needs top priority.

The association conducted an in house opinion poll and the overwhelming majority opined that the lockdown was not very effective but should remain, albeit with suitable changes wherever found wanting, we need to enforce social distancing at all cost and continually weigh the price of lockdown against loss to human lives. Therefore cautious step by step modifications in dealing lockdown would be most reasonable. 

B.  Asymptomatic transmission, is the Achilles’ heel of current strategies to control COVID-19. As to relaxation of interstate travel, resumption of commercial flights, trains and buses, The Association appeals most vociferously for 100% ban for the time being.

It is by grace that not a single known case of COVID-19 is known to be present in the state, as of today. And one of the major modes of infection is determined to be directly or indirectly associated to asymptomatic human carriers. 

The entry of apparently healthy air passengers from a Corona hotspot or unknowingly exposed from secondary sources, etc., will be like innocently packing gift of the dreaded virus inside his body, or may let the virus ride piggyback on his body surface, clothes and other articles. This would cause even the better trained and better equipped frontline worker at all levels to be exposed and should the slightest complacency arise, the virus will spread like wildfire. Our practical experience with COVID-19 is practically zero, considering that a certain carrier was detected COVID-19 positive only after he was shifted to Guwahati and tested there.

Enforced Quarantine, does not a high security prison make. Especially for people infected by the virus but is not being detected by the tests yet.

In all fairness, Negative result for COVID-19 test almost always reassures the mind- ‘No Problem’, Other virus are quick to show after infection unlike the slow starter Corona. This makes one wonder, How can our political and higher government functionaries remain confined and quarantined for 14 days? 

The phrase- ‘in public interest’ is all too powerful’ and consequently, may prove to be all too infectious and deadly.

The other set of influential people, the who is who of the state are also enterprising enough to redefine quarantine with a clean conscience, considering their first test result turned negative. Need we go on and on and on?

The likely scenario, in the event of even a single such infected traveller getting past the barricades to their respective homes in villages, colonies and towns as carriers may result in directly or indirectly infecting family members, friends, relatives, and the entire villages, colonies and towns spreading COVID-19 like wildfire. 

Regretfully, this may lead our history towards an unexpected turn, if at all. 

The current objective assessment of our resources to combat COVID-19 is not encouraging.

It may be added that the state, its institutions and agencies and us, the public, are fully geared up and ready to combat COVID-19, provided that we do not have a single case of COVID-19 infection, within our boundaries. We need to keep it this way.

A brief assessment of our capabilities would indicate inadequate number of hospitals, equipments, availability of quality PPE sets, inadequate number of ventilators, the two stage 3 laboratories, despite untiring efforts may be at least a fortnight away from being fully functional and even after it becomes fully functional, we are reminded of the WHOs admission that these tests results have to be understood in this context- That the Corona virus mutates rapidly, into varying levels of virility and may have already mutated or will mutate into other strains eventually. The currently known strains of the known Corona virus being strain A, B and C.

Furthermore, vaccines and antibodies developed in the body of a person having recovered from the attack of one of the three strains, does not guarantee immunity from the attacks of other strains of the same virus, thus resulting in some patients to be discharged from hospitals as being cured of COVID-19, only to be readmitted for treatment for COVID-19 of another strain and so forth.

We are painfully aware and suffer for our near and dear ones stranded outside, but surely, all can stand to reason and the Government is capable and willing to act promptly to alleviate their problems, to the extent possible.

The scenario in a nutshell, regarding interstate travel and resumption of commercial air services, should be understood like Corona free Nagaland being a beautiful inflated balloon and if a tiny pin accidently pricks the balloon, kaput.. 

Should any doubt or difficulties arises the call for continued ban on interstate travel is for a limited period of time only, we urge the state Government to choose to err on the side of caution, we have much to lose if we fail, and let it not be under our watch.

Praying for wisdom upon our Government and assuring our complete support, we look forward to fighting COVID-19 and getting rid of it. Together, we progress.

Neibulie Keiwhuo, 

President. Thejao Sekhose, General Secretary. Hukato Chishi, Legal Advisor & Joint Secretary (AKMWP)

 

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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