Kohima: A day ahead of the 22nd edition of the Hornbill festival kicks off, the department of health and family welfare has alerted the public on strictly adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to prevent the mega festival from becoming a super spreader event.  

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Dr Neikhrielie Khimhiao, principal director, said that in view of the upcoming mega Hornbill festival and the detection of omicron variant in over 20 countries, special COVID-19 Care Centre (CCC) management facilities will be activated in Kohima, Dimapur and Mon districts, in addition to the existing COVID-19 hospitals in all districts.

While the Omicron COVID-19 variant is yet to be detected in India, he said that all district Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have been alerted to undertake precautionary measures as per the ministry’s guidelines. A medical team will be on duty at the main venue at the Naga heritage village of Kisama.

He informed that although the state is equipped with BSL-3 laboratory in Kohima, samples for genome sequencing will be sent to Manipur and other metro cities. He added that sufficient Rapid Antigen test kits are also available in the state.

Also read: 8 reasons why you should not miss this year’s Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

The doctor said the state government’s decision to celebrate the festival was made keeping in mind the decline in the positivity rate, which currently stands at 1.7%.

In this regard, he said that a lockdown will not be necessary, further adding that hospital admissions and death rates have drastically declined in the past few weeks.

COVID-19 vaccination and testing facilities will also be made available during the 10-day long festivity. Screening of visitors will be carried out at the entry point, symptomatic persons will be isolated, and will not be permitted to attend the festival. 

Dr Nyanthung Kikon, nodal officer IDSP, said although avoiding crowded places will be a challenge during the festival, he said that wearing of masks, getting vaccinated and following all COVID-19 appropriate behaviour will help prevent the spread of the disease.

Also read: Manipur: DM University students storm VC office over delay in results

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