Kohima: Pointing out the accountability of the ruling government, Nagaland’s main opposition party — Naga People’s Front (NPF) — said that the state government has “casually handled” the first COVID-19 positive case with “utter carelessness”, endangering the lives of many persons. Questioning the state’s preparedness, it pointed out on how the COVID-19 patient from Dimapur who tested positive in Assam had to be referred to another state for treatment.
“Despite getting all kinds of support and cooperation from the entire citizens of Nagaland including the Opposition party the government of the day could not take care of one single patient who was a suspect and whose case has been finally confirmed from Guwahati,” a statement issued by the party’s media cell said on Monday.
It questioned as to how the state government is preparing to “curb the situation” if more positive cases are detected in the state and said that the party was not convinced of the explanation given by the state government in regard to the confirmed COVID-19 patient from Dimapur. It alleged that the government has “casually handled the case which is utter carelessness on the part of the government”.
“By carelessly handling this particular case, the government has put the lives of thousands of citizens of Dimapur under tension,” the statement said. The party said that the other “shocking aspect of this particular episode” was the announcement made by Assam minister who first announced the news instead of the state government “revealing the whole truth to its the citizens”.
While acknowledging the Assam health minister for showing its utmost concern towards the patient, it said that it is a “pity on the part of the PDA government the way the are handling and managing the present situation”.
NPF also said that the state with no testing machines/lab even after a lapse of almost two months is embarrassing as the patient was ultimately referred to another state for treatment. “Should other state refuse to admit and treat the patient from Nagaland, what option do we have?” it questioned over the state’s preparedness.
The party said that it is aware that some consignment of medical kits and equipment have been transported in the state through a special chartered plane which gave them “a sigh of relief in the midst of fear and doubts”. But the bigger question is whether those medical kits and equipment are of international/national standard or sub-standard ones? it questioned.
“The very fact that the gentleman from Dimapur who has been confirmed to have been infected by coronavirus might have also gone through the usual procedure of screening in the airport/railway station when he landed/alighted but could not be detected is a solid ground to cast aspersion on the medical kits and equipment supplied and used in the state. The government of the day ought to clear this doubt in order to boost the morale of the frontline workers in particular and to ease the tension of the general public at large,” it added.
With conviction, it said that the Jain community in Dimapur celebrated Mahavir Jayanti at Marwari Patti, where the positive COVID-19 patient resided, on April 6 even when the “lockdown was still on in full swing”. Despite being a Christian dominant state, it questioned that while the Christian communities in Nagaland chose to obey and abide by the government decision to maintain social distance by closing down the churches, what had prompted the government to allow the Jain community to have social/ religious gathering during the lockdown period.
It said that since the ruling government has issued repeated statements assuring the citizens of Nagaland that the government is fully prepared to tackle COVID-19 and the public have been extending cooperation, the party suggest that total lockdown be relaxed with effect from April 15 with some regulations: particularly on movement within the districts for the time being, Inter-district movement of vehicle and pedestrians be held on for a week’s time and special medical team be assigned to focus more on Dimapur district.
It also suggested that schools should continue to remain closed till the end of April and the lost classes/days be recovered by shortening the duration of summer vacation. The party further suggested that the airport, railway station and inter-state bus/taxi terminals should be sealed till the end of April.