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Nagaland to have COVID-19 sample test labs in Kohima and Dimapur

BSL press conf

Kohima, April 7: Government of Nagaland (GoN) rushing to have two bio-safety laboratories to overcome the problem of testing suspected COVID-19 samples, said officials of state Health and Family Welfare Department on Tuesday.
Addressing reporters at the Director of HFW here, Secretary of the department, Kesonyu Yhome said being the need of the hour, “the government and the department while maintaining all security protocol for establishment of such a lab is rushing against time to have a bio-safety lab each in Kohima and Dimapur”.
He said that Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) will have the Bio-safety lab level-3 while Referral Hospital in Dimapur will have the level-2 lab.
Yhome, who is all heading the state level committee for establishment of the labs, said all security protocols are met and assembling of the required machineries is in progress.
He said as fixing a date would create anxiety among the people at the present situation and therefore without setting any particular date, the committee is working to have the labs within a few weeks time.
Nagaland has been sending suspected COVID-19 samples to Dibrugarh and Guwahati in Assam and Imphal in Manipur.
So far 61 samples have been sent while 48 tests are negative, 13 results are awaited.
“Any Biological safety lab has to be approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the state government is in constant touch with the ICMR while no compromise in the protocol of the procedure,” he said.
“The highest offices of the Governor and Chief Minister are also involved to ensure fast tracking of the machineries and other required items in order to have the labs at the earliest,” he asserted.
On the availability of efficient man power, Principal Secretary Menukhol John said that the department has already identified experts and while the process of setting up the lab is going, we will be sending more personnel to be trained.
John also informed that the government has so far declared 4 COVID-19 hospitals while every district will have one such hospital shortly.
On the opening of schools and ending the lockdown, John said the government is yet to take a call on ending the lockdown. He however asserted that if the lockdown does not continue, the department is ready to disinfect the facilities, including schools used for quarantine.
COVID-19 samples sent through viral transport medium: Dr Suokhrie
Asked if the lack of testing facility was the reason behind less number of COVID-19 test being conducted in Nagaland, Principal Director, Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie asserted that the 60 samples that have been sent so far from the State the ones qualifying for COVID-19 test.
He also allayed peoples’ fear that the past tests have been negative because the samples sent reaches the destination only after 6-8 hours.
Dr Suokhrie said that the samples are being sent through a viral transport medium under minus temperature to ensure that it survives the destination.
“There should be not be any doubt on the transport of the samples,” he affirmed.
Asserting that even if the state has own testing labs, the proper protocol will have to be followed and there cannot be random testing for COVID-19. (Page News Service)