Nagaland principal secretary (home) Abhijit Sinha and Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie addressing the emergency meeting in Kohima on Thursday Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Religious organisations have now joined the Nagaland state government towards preparedness for COVID-19, following an emergency meeting convened by the Special Action Group (SAG) chaired by principal secretary (home) Abhijit Sinha, with the various faith-based organisations at New Secretariat Conference Hall in Kohima.

In the meeting which was attended by leaders of various church organisations, Sinha said that no positive case of COVID-19 is reported in the state. Emphasising on the need to maintain personal hygiene and social distancing, Sinha urged the religious organisations to convey preventive measures prescribed by the health department to the faithfuls.

Saying that the only weapon to fight the virus is containment and personal hygiene, he reiterated the government order to minimise mass-based gatherings and encouraged small gathering with precautionary measures, if needed be. He also suggested for the postponement of weddings or limiting wedding guest lists.

Affirming the state’s precautionary measures to control the pandemic, he informed that screening of passengers at the railway station and various entry point have begun for railways and roadway in Dimapur. He further called on the faith-based organisations to play a role in disseminating information on creating awareness, he said that the state’s COVID-19 helpline will be available for assistance.

Principal director, H&FW, Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie, said that all state departments are jointly working towards initiating preventive measure to control the spread of the virus in the State and called on faith-based organisations to support and cooperate in fighting the pandemic.

He informed that 89 isolation beds have been identified across the state and that all districts have identified quarantine facilities. Informing the members not to be carried away with unauthentic information, he said that the state’s cyber crime is on alert.

Reiterating that the state is prepared in case of any eventuality, he urged the people not to be alarmed but maintain social distancing. He said that the transportation facilities are equipped, in case the need to test samples arises. When queried about why Nagaland does not have a testing laboratory, Suokhrie said that the state is not in a position to acquire a virology lab which requires one acre of land and high level protection. He however said that samples sent to testing centres at Guwahati, Imphal and Dibrugargh will be received within six hours.

He further urged the churches to maintain cleanliness and advocate cough hygiene and hand hygiene to battle COVID-19 which is also a self-limiting disease. On the shortage of hand sanitizers, he said that the department is taking up measures to facilitate in providing hand sanitizers, although it is beyond the capacity of the department.

Meanwhile, Dr Nyan Kikion, PRO IDSP, suggested on temporary suspension of Sunday services. He added that the state has stepped up on its preparedness.

The church leaders further extended its appreciation towards the government for taking all preventive measure and assured of cooperation on their part. President of Kohima Town Baptist Pastors Fellowship, Rev Kevichalie informed the meeting that the annual Easter Sunday Sunrise service which is held at Kohima World War II Memorial on Easter Sunday has been cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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