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DoHFW advises caution during Hornbill Festival

HFW Dept

KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 30: The Nagaland Health & Family Welfare Department (HFW) today requested the people to adhere to all laid down SOPs and follow COVID-19 appropriate behavior during the ensuing 10-day Hornbill Festival starting from Wednesday.
The State Government and Health Department, while considering the low positivity rate of 1.7%, less hospital occupancy and decrease in mortality, had decided to hold Hornbill Festival after a gap of a year, said Principal Director of HFW Department Neikhrielie Khimiao during a press conference held here.

He said though there are reports of outbreak of new variants of the Coranavirus ~ Omicron ~ in some foreign countries,
there is no reported case of the virus in Nagaland and the country.
Nonetheless, he said that due notification has been issued to all districts.
With the ensuing Hornbill Festival, the Health Department has taken due precautions and informed Kohima, Dimapur and Mon districts ~ the 3 main entry points ~ that Special COVID Care Management Center has to be created.
He also informed that a medical team will also be stationed at the main venue in Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, with facilities for vaccination, screening and testing kits.
No clear cut information can be issued on Omicron virus at this moment as there is no proper information but the symptoms include mild headache, throat irritation and general weakness, he said.
The Principal Director said that the Department had already informed the Government and the host Tourism Department to conduct screening of in-bound visitors.
He said the Department has issued advisories and notifications have been submitted to the Government to be followed during the celebrations, including universal masking, vaccination of visitors, restricting entry of symptomatic visitors, hand-washing points in strategic locations, etc.
On a query on restricting overcrowding during the Hornbill festival, Dr Khimiao said it has to be a collaborative effort of the district administration, Departments involved while people should also strictly follow the laid down norms.
On whether the Department is apprehensive of a super-spreader event from the Hornbill Festival, he said “if the SOPs are strictly followed, it will not happen but the public becomes careless and a super-spreading event can take place”.
Any suspected sample from in-bound visitors during the festivities would be directly sent for genome sequencing, he said.
There is no cure to COVID-19 till date and all its variants, so the main focus is on prevention – adhering to the COVID Appropriate Behaviours (CAB) during the festivities and also to avoid crowded places, said State Nodal Officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, Dr Nyanthung Kikon.

Accepting that with the upcoming Hornbill Festival the challenge will remain on avoiding crowded places, Dr Kikon said “masking will be one of the main tools for prevention”.
He also encouraged people to instill personal responsibility not to spread the virus to other people.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over therefore let us not lower our guards so that we do not see another surge of the virus”, he said.
(Page News Service)