Nagaland no longer a green zone

3 returnees from Chennai test positive for COVID-19

Morung Express News
Kohima | May 25

Nagaland reported its first three confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning from among the returnees who arrived on the Special Shramik Train from Chennai. Two males from Dimapur and a female from Kohima were tested positive.

With this Nagaland has officially become a COVID-19 affected state and is no longer tagged as a green-zone. Health officials confirmed that these cases are not local but has been imported from travellers who have come back home.

Announcing this at a press briefing on May 25, Principal Secretary for Health and Family Welfare (H&FW), Menukhol John said “we already have three positive cases as of now. However, regardless of the fact that we have three positive cases as of now, our medical team is trying their best they can.”

It was informed that two of them are symptomatic while the other one is asymptomatic, and that the department is going for an ‘aggressive surveillance, treatment protocols and on how to take care of them.’ They have been transferred to COVID designated hospitals and are under observation.  

“Our appeal is do not stigmatise our patients and also be supportive towards the health workers and these cases are not local, it has been imported from travelers who has come back home” maintained John. 

He also stated “rest assured, we have everybody under our radar and going for active contact tracing, surveillance activities and doing the best we can and we need the support in this fight against COVID.”

Also addressing the media persons, Chief Secretary, Temjen Toy remarked “we are no longer green and the real challenge starts today.”

Recalling the reactions and stigmatization `which was witnessed when a man from Nagaland tested positive for COVID-19 in Guwahati a month ago, Toy stated that the government is making sure that this does not happen and that adequate care is being taken to counsel those who have tested positive.

He also assured that the health department has started all requisite protocols and measures for treatment, contact tracing, surveillance, while adding that the number of tests will be increased and testing of all those coming in will be carried out.

Assuring that there is not much to worry about the positive cases, Toy said he is more worried on ‘how people would react’ to the news. “The pandemic is here to stay and we have to live with it and our initial reaction on how we react is going to go down a long way in addressing this disease,” Toy stated. 

 “This is the time for all of us to rise up and show our goodness, compassion, solidarity and determination to fight this pandemic,” Toy said, as he appealed to the people to respect the privacy of the patients by understanding that it could have been anyone of ‘us.’

Further urging the people not to overreact and have respect for those who have been tested positive, Toy stated matter-of-factly “rest assured, I’m sure these are not the only three cases that is going to happen, more will come out and we need to be prepared.”


All special train passengers will be tested
Minister for H&FW S Pangnyu Phom announced the test results at Hotel Saramati, Dimapur, in the presence of APC Nagaland who is also in-charge of Dimapur district for COVID-19 activities, Y Khiketo Sema, Dimapur Deputy Commissioner Anoop Kinchi and Mission Director, NHM, Dr Kevichusa Medikhrie.

A document made was available through the DIPR, where it stated that ‘District Surveillance Units have intensified their surveillance activities and contact tracing of the three positive persons has started since 7:00 am, May 25.’

The Minister also said that a “massive exercise of testing for all passengers of the Special Shramik Express will be done according to risk assessment.”

CM, Dy CM appeal for calm
Meanwhile, Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio also took to Twitter to announce the news and appealed the public not to panic. 
“Please do not panic. We need to handle it with utmost care and responsibility. Necessary action of contact tracing & containment measures are being taken and situation closely monitored,” Rio assured. 

The Deputy Chief Minister and BLP leader Y Patton appealed to the people of the state to maintain calm.

In a press release issued by the Dy. CM’s Media Cell, Patton asserted that “the biggest challenge ahead of us will be to do away with the stigmatization associated with it.” Urging those experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms to come forward to avail treatment, he said that 'early detection can break the chain of spreading and early recovery of those infected.'

The Dy. CM maintained that the virus is here to stay, and the only way to stay safe is adhering to self discipline and cooperating with the frontline warriors, who are tirelessly working as our shield, the release stated.

He meanwhile thanked the frontline workers, civil societies, donors and all individuals joining in to fight the pandemic and assured that the Home department “will spare no effort to extend every possible help towards the global war against COVID-19.”