Kohima: Residents of Peren district are angry at the government for releasing a person from the Dimapur quarantine centre before declaring his CODIV-19 result, which came positive. They are demanding action
against erring officials. Nagaland health secretary, Kesonyu Yhome has stepped in defence of doctors, he says, “doctors cannot be penalized under any circumstances, especially in this case.”
In an interaction with media persons on Wednesday evening, Yhome said “I as the secretary of the department, I take full responsibility and accountability on this. The health care workers should be given all the protection at this stage. We cannot have a situation where we keep taking action on any mistake which has occurred with without any mala fide intention”.
“So if any action is to be taken, as the secretary, I will take the responsibility. The doctors should not be penalised under any circumstance, especially in this case,” Yhome added. As reported earlier, sixteen inbound passengers along with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 were released from Dimapur quarantine centre on June 3 and had reached Jalukie under Peren district.
The result of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 was declared after the person had reached Peren. The incident is a violation of the new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the state government. It says that persons who returned from Chennai and are still in Kohima and Dimapur quarantine centres will continue to remain until the COVID-19 test is complete. According to health officials, the error was made because of a confusion over the similarity in names.
Yhome said that the mistake was “unintentional,” without any “mala fide intention”. Saying that “to err is human”, he added that it was made very clear that such mistake “should not happen” again.
A peaceful rally was proposed to be held in Peren district on Wednesday, and it was later called off—following a directive from the deputy commissioner’s office. However, a symbolic protest was held in Peren town organized by the Zeliangrong Students’ Union Nagaland (ZSUN) in collaboration with the Peren Town Youth Organization. Reliable sources informed EastMojo that the protestors were disbursed after a few minutes of their gathering.
7 days ultimatum to the Chief Minister
Meanwhile, the ZSUN submitted a seven-day ultimatum to the chief minister of Nagaland, who is also the chairman of the High Powered Committee (HPC) to: initiate prompt action against the erring officials; establish 100 bedded COVID hospital in the district with modern facilities soon; provide adequate tools and equipment to set up makeshift ICU in the district hospital, and post sufficient staff to man the hospital.
Reacting the demands made, Yhome said that the government would take a decision soon. Adding that even his department wants to increase bed capacity in the districts.
When asked if any returnees who tested positive for COVID-19 were sent back to the district, Yhome responded saying that although there is no change in the SOP for returnees, the government is taking “abundant precaution before sending positive patients to the district”.
The government is aware of the infrastructure and capacity of the districts. Once the positions are filled up, he said that “Kohima and Dimapur will take care of all the additional resources”.
“The policy came about because the quarantine centres in Kohima and Dimapur are being stretched to the fullest possible,” he said expressing concern that the system may “collapse” if the human resources in these two districts get exhausted after some time—with the increase in the number of returnees increases and the COVID-19 cases. “When they collapse, the whole state will collapse,” he added.
To him, it is “only a matter of ensuring that there is equal distribution of work and responsibility so that one-two districts do not get taxed beyond their capacity”. He then said that most cases in the state are asymptomatic and few with mild symptoms, and as per the ministry, such cases are recommended for home isolation.
“But we are not taking those risks. Though the guidelines are very clear, we want to take good care of all the asymptomatic, mild, moderate and severe cases, as far as possible,” the officer added.