Underlying missteps

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/31/2020 12:59:46 PM IST

 Beyond the outrage over the sending away of returnees from Tuensang and Mokokchung districts who were quarantined at facilities in Kohima to their respective districts, while results of their tests for COVID-19 was still awaited; the issue has also exposed the ineptness that has highlighted the entire anti-COVID-19 measures. If the decision to send the returnees was made at some official level, and which seems most likely, then it means that officials along the line of decision making have not fully comprehended the demands that their  new roles demand as part of the  unified command to contain COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases keeps rising,   the state government continues to grapple with making quarantine and health facilities in the state in a state of preparedness. Nearly 5000 stranded persons from Nagaland have arrived so far and nearly 12,000 are in line to return. As per the previous Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) all returnees would be quarantined for 14 days at institutional facilities. During the period, those showing symptoms would undergo testing and if confirmed for COVID-19, then they will be sent to COVID-19 hospitals. The challenge of undertaking such a challenge is huge considering that fact that never in history has the world been confronted by a virus as menacing and dangerous as Wuhan virus or coronavirus and now COVID-19. In order to stop the spread, India has also adopted the measure to quarantine all those who may have been exposed to the virus. The number of people who would be quarantined throughout big states in India is mind boggling where the numbers could be as much as one to two lakh in a state. This could be highlighted in the case of a tiny state as Nagaland, which presently faces accommodation problems with just around 3000 inmates. It is not a small matter to look after such a huge number not for a day or two but for 14 days. The quarantines should have proper rooms, beds, clothes, bathroom and dining facilities and not to forget, adequate number of doctors and medical staff including health workers etc. The preparations to fight COVID-19 pandemic, had to be rushed sometime since mid-March in identifying the probable quarantine centres. The challenge of identifying the possible quarantine facilities was not helped by the fact that except for Dimapur and to some extent Kohima, there weren’t enough facilities overall. This is because no one had ever imagined that this could ever happen. The recent issue has also shown that even less developed districts could have as many returnees as the so-called developed districts such as Dimapur and Kohima. The problem is that when it comes to many wanting a few, it has also led to shortage of magnanimity. The virus problem is not the problem of either the returnees or the infected. It is the problem of everybody and it is something that cannot be ignored. On its part, the state government has to review its strategy and think out of the box to reform its chain of command rather being seen as struggling to please-all and ultimately end up pleasing nobody.

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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