Kohima: In about a week’s time, Nagaland Police headed by T John Longkumer has converted the Ganeshnagar industrial estate in Dimapur to a quarantine centre for returnees, making it the largest quarantine centre in the state with an accommodation capacity of 1,070 people.
“The task that we were given to prepare this quarantine centre by the government of Nagaland has been taken as a challenge as a way of repaying back the people through the services of Nagaland Police,” expressed Shouka Kakheto, deputy commandant, 1 NAP Battalion, in a video released by the state government.
The officer said that the place was left untouched and inaccessible by road was assigned to be functional within a week. He pointed out that as the largest quarantine centre in the state, it had its own challenges from restoring power supply, furnishing the house to plumbing. He said that the aim was to make it a minimal contact facility.
“In one week, we have been able to get this whole complex running,” Nagaland DGP John Longkumer added.
Returnees in quarantine share experience
A 23-year-old woman, who was part of the first batch of returnees from Guwahati and is under quarantine at K Badze in Rusoma, said: “We reached very late to our centre but the workers welcomed us warmly and assisted us to our respective rooms despite working tirelessly all day.”
Although she expressed her delight at the arrangements made by the government at the centre, she said the initial days went by without proper protocols in place. “But things got better, the protocols were strictly implemented and the guests became more responsible. We also got the love and support from so many churches and organisations. It is the prayers of our loved ones back at home that we’re staying strong till now,” she said.
“I was a little bit nervous in the beginning, but everything went smoothly,” she recalled about being tested for COVID-19 as she optimistically awaited the results to be declared. While the pandemic has taught many lessons, including returnees and those who chose to stay back outside Nagaland, she said: “We have all confronted many challenges from taking decisions on own to facing the consequences. I am sure you will face stares from people and may likely to face stigma. But above all, be strong and always remember that you are not alone.”
“Give your best to follow all the protocols that the govt has laid down for us and be responsible,” she shared her piece of advice for those returning back to the state. She also appealed parents of citizens who stayed back “not to panic but rather support their decisions”. She suggested that rather than instigating fear on their minds, parents must be willing to help them and encourage them to make the best use of this time.
She also made a special mention of the hardworking volunteers attending to all of their needs at the quarantine centre. While most of people are advised to stay home and practice social distancing, she said that all must learn to appreciate “health care workers, police personnel, volunteers and all working behind the scenes have put themselves and their family at risk knowing that we cannot get through this without them”.
Khrielezo Keditsu, a 30-year-old returnee from Chennai who is under quarantine at Meriema, also expressed his quarantine experience at the government facility. “Before coming back, I was quite prepared as I read through various the protocols laid by the government to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
With just good memories of the journey home, he acknowledged the government and the student bodies for “working tirelessly to help us to get back home”. While there were reports of people whining over the food being provided, he said “I am really lucky to be here in Meriema quarantine centre”.
He expressed a huge sigh of relief recalling a phone call which declared his sample results as negative. “I thank god and all those who prayed for us,” he said. He also pointed out how the pandemic, which took the world by surprise, has brought the people even closer. He said that it is heartening to “see the medical department/research team working so hard like never before, and leaders consulting with each other to push through this outbreak”.