Kohima: Amid reports that some persons returning to Nagaland are not being screened on arrival and not registered in the list of returnees, Mmhonlumo Kikon, spokesperson for COVID-19 and adviser IT, science and technology, NRE, clarified that the standard operating procedure (SOP) applies equally to everyone, irrespective of whether they come back by road, rail or air services.
During a press conference on Tuesday evening, Kikon said: “Even if you come by train, flight or vehicles [by road], the protocol is the same. They have to go to Agri Expo in Dimapur and get screened.”
In addition, principal secretary home Abhijit Sinha said that as per the protocol, if a person is above the age of 60 years and children below the age of 10 years, they will be screened and allowed for home quarantine.
When asked why persons who returned from the chartered flight were not listed in the cumulative number of persons, if all protocols are the same, Sinha said: “The daily figures/list being conveyed is basically for people coming in large numbers. Otherwise, even before that also, people have been coming into the state [by private vehicles].”
He reiterated that the numbers provided by the government concern those returning in “big numbers” by train, flight or road.
While the state government has arranged facility quarantine centres in all districts, it has also permitted certain hotels to be used as paid quarantine, where returnees are required to pay for their stay.
Neiba Kronu, spokesperson for COVID-19 and minister of planning and coordination, informed that 2,695 persons have returned to the state by train and 221 persons by buses.
Meanwhile, the state government has issued new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for returnees, after the cabinet meeting held on Monday. A high-powered committee was constituted with chief minister Neiphiu Rio and deputy chief minister Y Patton as the chairman and co-chairman. They will be assisted by minister of health & family welfare S Pangnyu Phom; minister planning & coordination Neiba Kronu; advisor IT, Mmhonlumo Kikon as members; and chief secretary Temjen Toy as the member secretary.
Kikon told reporters that a video conference was held on Tuesday where all district deputy commissioners (DCs), superintendents’ of Police (SPs)and chief medical officers (CMOs) directly connected with the high-powered committee headed by the chief minister.
As he lauded the efforts of the efforts of officers, doctors and police in serving the people, he also pointed that the concerns faced by those working on ground across the state are now directly addressed to the newly-formed high power committee, which will enhance the process in fighting the pandemic together as “Team Nagaland”.
New Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for returnees to Nagaland
1. Persons returned to the state on May 22 by the special train from Chennai and are still in Kohima and Dimapur quarantine centres and will continue to remain until the COVID-19 test is done on all such persons.
2. Persons tested negative will be sent to their respective home districts.
3. Persons tested positive but do not require hospitalisation and are fit to travel will be sent to their home districts to be kept at district Covid-19 hospitals for treatment under special transportation.
4. Persons tested positive and showing symptoms requiring hospitalization and not fit for travel will be shifted to the Covid-19 hospitals of Dimapur and Kohima as the case may be for treatment.
Returnees from NE states before May 18
1. All returnees from green zones of the NE states before May 18 and have completed 14 days’ institutional quarantine in Dimapur or Kohima or in any other district, and not exhibiting any symptoms will be immediately released for undergoing home quarantine for another 14 days without the mandatory testing.
2. Those returnees who are still in Kohima or Dimapur quarantine centres will be released to their respective district task force for undergoing 14 days’ in home quarantine.
All returnees other than the above two categories
1. All the returnees reaching the state at Dimapur either by train, air, road will be segregated district-wise at the entry point/ Agri Expo site, thermally screened and all found asymptomatic will be transferred to the quarantine centres in the respective districts.
2. For persons entering the state via Khuzama, the DTF Kohima will make similar arrangements.
3. All the returnees showing symptoms will be subject to medical protocol at Dimapur and Kohima; and based on the fitness will be retained or transported to the respective home districts.
4. In case the quarantine centres in any particular district gets fully filled up and unable to accommodate any more returnees, then arrangements will be made in the quarantine centres at Dimapur or Kohima or vice versa wherever space is available at that point of time.
5. Sample of all the returnees will be taken in the respective districts and tested for Covid-19 in the BSL 3 laboratory in Kohima or in the labs in Assam/ Manipur or in the upcoming BSL 2 laboratory in Dimapur , when functional, or in the TrueNat machines, wherever available.
6. Those whose test is positive will be shifted to the respective district Covid-19 hospital.
7. After 14 days’ institutional quarantine, the returnees if tested negative and found asymptomatic will be released for undergoing another 14 days home quarantine.
8. Persons above the age of 60 years, children below the age of 10 years and parents and pregnant women and accompanying spouse and patients, they shall be thoroughly screened and on the advice of the medical team at the entry points/ screening centre will be sent for 28 days’ home quarantine.