UK variant of coronavirus linked to significantly higher death rate Credit: Representational image

Kohima: Following Nagaland government’s decision to invoke the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, through the powers conferred under Section 2, 3 and 4 of the said Act, the health and family welfare department issued 22-point regulations regarding COVID-19. While the notification was issued on Wednesday, the official notification printed in the Nagaland Gazette was made available on Thursday. Accordingly, the regulations came into force immediately and will remain valid for a period of one year from the date of publication of the official gazette.

The notification dated March 18 said that the regulations may be called Nagaland Epidemic Diseases (Covid-19) Regulations 2020, extending to the whole of Nagaland with the first few regulations emphasising on the meaning of ‘COVID-19’, ‘Epidemic disease’, ‘authorized persons’, ‘home quarantine’, ‘designated quarantine facility’, ‘isolation facility’, and ‘health facilities’.

The regulation said that all health facilities shall have a designated flu/Covid-19 corner for screening suspected cases. It also made it mandatory for all health facilities to notify any suspecting person(s) having travel history and contact with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 to the concerned district surveillance unit along with duly filled self-declaration forms.

For persons having such history in the last 14 days and is asymptomatic, the person must be kept in home/facility quarantine for 14 days from the day of exposure, and as per protocol shall be tested for COVID-19. It said that all such information should be provided to the chief medical officer and health officer of the district immediately.

To avoid the spread of wrong information or unauthenticated information, it warned that the public including institutions and organisations to avoid the use any print or electronic media for information regarding Covid-19 without prior permission of the Health and Family Welfare department.

It directed that no private laboratories are authorised to take or test samples for COVID-19 in the state. All samples are to be are to collected as per the ministry’s guidelines and will be sent to designated labs by the state nodal officer appointed by the department.

Any person with a travel history in the past 14 days to a country or area from where COVID-19 has been reported, must report to the nearest government hospital or call any helpline number for further necessary measures/action. It directed those with travel history to COVID-19 affected area in the last 14 days but do not have any symptoms to isolate themselves at home and avoid contact with persons including family members for 14 days from the date of arrival.

The authorised persons as per clause 6, can admit and isolate persons having travel history to the affected areas and is symptomatic. If any suspect case refutes isolation or admission, the authorized persons can forcibly admit ans isolate such cases for a period of 14 days from the onset of symptoms or till the reports of lab tests are received, or such period as may be necessary.

If COVID-19 cases are reported from a town, village, ward, colony with defined geographic area, the deputy commissioner can: seal the geographical area; bar entry and exit of population from the containment area; close schools, colleges, offices and ban public gatherings; ban vehicular movements; initiate passive and active surveillance of COVID-19 cases; hospital isolation of all suspected cases; designate any government buildings as containment unit. Further, the district disaster management committee, headed by deputy commissioner (DC) is authorised for planning strategy regarding containment measures for COVID-19 in their respective districts.

Furthermore, it warned that any person/institution/organisation found violating these regulations would be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of Indian Penal Code 1860 (45 of 1860). No suit or legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 (No. of 1897) unless proved otherwise, it said.

Printed and published by the directorate of printing & stationery, Nagaland (Ex-Gazette), the notification in the gazette was signed by Wezope Kenye, secretary to the government of Nagaland.

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