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Learn to live with COVID-19; lockdown measures to continue: Dr Suokhrie

Dr Suokhrie

Kohima, June 25: Nagaland’s Principal Director of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie while reiterating that the COVID-19 is here to stay for an unknown period till a medicine is found, today said, “We should learn to live with COVID-19 and also continue with the health hygiene practices we have learned during past days in the fight against COVID-19”.
Replying to queries from media persons during an interaction in the Directorate of HFW here today, he said the lockdown measures would have to continue for at least next two weeks in the state.
“The current lockdown measures should continue for a few more days and make proper assessment after a week or two. The department has started discussing the issue and we want to bring out some suggestions with micro planning for containment zones to be submitted to the government on how best we can go about,” he said.
Asked on the recommendation of the health department for opening of the churches, religious places and educational institutions with unlock process in progress in other parts of the country, Dr Suokhrie said the department does not want opening of churches, religious places and educational institutions at the moment.
“If we are unable to maintain social distancing, immediate opening of these places will only invite more problems for the State,” he said.
On the directives for the containment area to contain local and community transmission, Dr Suokhrie said, “We are working into the minute details and starting micro planning while also strengthening the surveillance mechanism so that no one is missed out during the contact tracing in order to prevent local and community transmission”.
On the delay of release of quarantined persons, he said if someone completes 14 days of quarantine without any symptoms, there is no need of any further test but it is because of the fear psychosis among the people of the colonies and their stand not to allow entry of those returning for quarantine centres without the test result.
He said that people are already staying for minimum 14 days of institutional quarantine in Dimapur and if found negative they are released with further recommendation of 14 days home quarantine, but after reaching the respective districts they are put under government quarantine for another 14 days, which is again followed by 14 days village quarantine.
“That is killing the psychology of the people who are returning and also giving them mental stress,” he said, while appealing to the community to try to understand and reason out the scientific way in dealing with COVID-19. Nonetheless, he said, “This is beyond the control of the department”.
On the use of force in quarantine centres, he said, “If we don’t discipline them, the whole community and society is put at risk because of some of the unruly persons in quarantine centres”.
He said that as per the Epidemic Disease Act any course of law can be initiated against any unruly person and also they can be put under life imprisonment.
On the rising COVID-19 cases of Chennai returnees, particularly Peren and Mon districts, Dr Suokhrie stressed on the importance of social distancing protocols, hand and cough hygiene saying the reason for spike in positive cases among the returnees of the two districts would be cause of not adhering to these protocols.
He also said another reason would be the unruly behavior of the persons staying in quarantine centres as in some instances, a person found to be positive and needs to be shifted to isolation wards they jam up with others in the quarantine centre refusing to go to hospital.
He cited the examples of Mokokchung and Longleng saying that 19 persons are Chennai returnees in Mokokchung but none are positive while in Longleng 16 are from Chennai and another equal number from Maharashtra but there too no one is COVID-19 positive.
The Mokokchung people have maintained all protocols and hygiene, while those in Longleng have distanced each other even in the quarantine centre and refused to mix up with others, he said adding that such positive examples should be followed by everyone so that community spread of the virus is contained.
“Even for the general public we have to continue with the social distancing protocols even in future as we do not know for how long the virus will be with us,” he said.
He asserted that the department will continue and strengthen the awareness activities against COVID-19, particularly in the grassroots level.
SNO ISDP Dr Nyan Kikon said COVID-19 is a self limiting virus and this can be prevented if people maintain proper hygiene, and most importantly social distancing. They suggested that studies should be carried out on genetic resistance on Naga people.
Further, following the approval of the State Cabinet in creating around 390 posts of health workers, including 120 posts of doctors and 221 nurses, along with some dental & ayush doctors and lab technicians within a month’s time, Dr Suokhrie said that department is moving on fast track to recruit the posts so that the man power is strengthened not only to fight COVID-19 but also to provide health care services to the general common diseases.
Currently, he said that upon the conversion of district hospitals into COVID-19 hospitals throughout the State, the department had activated the UPHC, CHCs and PHCs in order to take care of the general patients and also empanelled private hospitals with Ayushman Bharat so that the common people who are having health cards can avail services at minimum amount.
“We are very happy with the government for creating so many posts of health workers, because through normal ways it would take another two years to fill up the posts and won’t be able to recruit them during this current crisis situation,” he said.
Since 2018 we have been sending posts of doctors for recruitment but that has not been happening and now the government has allowed us to go for fast track recruitment through open advertisement, he said.
The Principal Director asserted that all transparency will be maintained during the recruitment of the newly sanctioned posts.
On the three-point demand of National Health Mission Employees, Dr Suokhrie asserted that they should not be putting up such demands because their service is mission based from the Government of India.
Nonetheless, he asserted that the government and the department are seriously trying to address their issue.
Dr Suokhrie also said that once the newly created posts are advertised they are free to apply and compete with others. “We will definitely recognize the services they have rendered but they have to come through the process as we cannot simply absorb them,” asserted the Principal Director. (Page News Service)