KOHIMA, MAY 28: With a view to bring down the surging positivity rate in the State to below 10%, the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19 today decided to further extend the ongoing Statewide total lockdown in Nagaland till June 11.
This will be the second extension of the total lockdown in the State as the Government had imposed a 7-day lockdown from May 14 making the first extension till May 31, during the HPC meeting on May 19.
The decision to this effect was taken during a meeting of the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, 3 days before the first extended lockdown was to end.
Briefing media persons at the State Civil Secretariat here this evening, Government Spokespersons on COVID-19, Minister Neiba Kronu and Advisor Mmhonlumo Kikon said that in today’s meeting of the HPC, the Health & Family Welfare Department made a Power-point presentation on the current status of case positivity, beds and oxygen availability and the trend of hospitalizations, etc.
As per the clinical and epidemiological criteria, the Department advised to complete at least 2 cycles of incubation period of 2 weeks each for the virus, said Minister Kronu.
Taking into account the medical advice on the high level of COVID-19 positive cases in the State, and as per feedbacks received from all District Task Forces (DTF), the HPC decided to extend the statewide total lockdown with the existing guidelines till June 11, 2021, he said.
On this, Deputy Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Nyanthung Kikon informed that the Department advised for extension of total lockdown with a view to bring down the positivity rate to below 10%.
He said that before the imposition of the total lockdown the sample positivity rate of COVID-19 in Nagaland was 34% but during the lockdown period it has come down to 21% and we want to bring it down to below 10%, which will be possible only through another period of total lockdown.
Fourteen days is one incubation period and to have the full impact of the lockdown, 2 cycles have to be taken into consideration, Dr Kikon said.
Nagaland tally of COVID-19 on May 14 was 17,531 while it has seen an increase of 3,684 cases pushing the tally as to 21,215 on Friday.
The number of COVID-19 positive cases in the State during the last 2 weeks continue to remain high, while the State Government is satisfied that the existing lockdown measures are required to continue in order to break the chain and prevent the spread of COVID-19, stated an order issued by Chief Secretary J Alam, on further extension of the total lockdown.
The existing guidelines state that during the lockdown period, all activities and movement of people will remain suspended except permitted ones ~ essential services, agriculture and construction works.
Shops dealing in essential commodities would be allowed to remain open from 6 a.m. to 12 Noon daily and only one person per family has to do the shopping, states the existing guidelines.
Asked on measures taken by the State Government towards the welfare of the unorganized sectors, including taxi and bus drivers and other daily wage earners in the State during the extended period of lockdown, Advisor Kikon said that the HPC has asked all DTFs to submit a detailed report on such categories of the people requiring Government aid.
GHC KOHIMA BENCH DIRECTIVE
Replying to a query on the May 24 Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench, directive to the State Government to take up measures of designating isolation centres, ramp-up testing facilities, make all COVID-19 tests free and take vaccination on a war footing, Kikon said that the COVID-19 War Room of the State Government is studying the Court’s directive and steps would be taken accordingly.
Also highlighting on other resolutions taken in Friday’s HPC meeting, Minister Kronu said it was also decided that over and above the 15% of Local Area Development Programme (LADP) fund earmarked for Common Pool activities, an additional 10% will be kept aside for COVID-19 related expenditure excluding those earmarked for Iconic Projects for COVID-19 related expenditure as per the requirement of the respective DTFs. The Planning Department will issue separate guidelines on this, he informed.
To check the spread of the virus in rural areas, a system of community surveillance has been put in place, while the DTFs have been asked to take steps to strengthen the Village Task Force/Village Disaster Management Authorities, he said.
They shall remain operational under the supervision of the respective DTFs for effective management of COVID-19 in the rural areas, he said.
Also deciding that the ongoing vaccination drive shall continue to be aggressively implemented across the State, Kronu said the HPC resolved that all Village and Ward/Colony authorities would be mobilised to organise suitable slots for vaccination in order to streamline the ongoing vaccination drive.
The HPC also requested the Ministers and Advisors of the ruling Government and Opposition MLAs already assigned to the districts to monitor effective measures to prevent and control COVID-19 during the first phase of the pandemic to go to their respective districts to take stock of the situation.
EXPERT PANEL ON COVID-19
Meanwhile, Advisor Kikon also informed that in view of the aggressive nature of the second wave of the pandemic, the State Government on May 13 constituted a 3-member advisory panel of experts to make expert opinion on various aspects of emergency response of COVID-19 to the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and State Executive Committee (SEC) Nagaland.
The experts are Dr Satish Ranjan, Senior Scientist in Molecular Immunology, Drug Development to fight Corona from University Hospital, Magdeburg Germany; Col. Sanjay Srivastava of the Emergency Response Chemical and Biological Warfare, CROPC ~ MoES, New Delhi, and Dr Manoj Murhekar, Director of National Institute of Epidemiology, New Delhi.
The Government is not undermining the expertise of the Health and Family Welfare Department available in the State, under whose advise all measures to fight the pandemic is be carried forward but considering the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 and also the reported third wave, it was decided to rope in experts already dealing with the situation, Kikon clarified.
COLONIES/WARDS’ SELF IMPOSED COMPLETE LOCKDOWN
On different colonies and wards’ self imposition of complete lockdown, especially in Kohima, Spokesperson Kronu said the Government SOP is clear that colonies will have to open shops dealing with essential commodities for the convenience of the colony people and it is up to the DPTs to make necessary arrangements.
However, Spokesperson Kikon while agreeing that the issue has been raised many times when it has been brought to the notice of the DTF, COVID-19 War Room and the HPC, said that from the very beginning even if a colony is declared a containment zone essential services are to be open and it is very clear.
But if there is any violation, we are not aware and when we ask the colony, panchayat and village council, the response is that alongside the detection of positive cases through contact tracing, random testing is going on which is seeing increasing number of cases and therefore colonies say that this (complete lockdown) is the only option, he said.
Kikon also maintained that in this connection the HPC today has asked DTFs to strengthen village task forces and village disaster management authorities but they shall remain operational under the supervision of the respective DTF.
From tomorrow they (colonies/wards/villages) will have regular meetings with DTF and if essential services are not allowed to open it is against the SOP, Kikon reiterated.
(Page News Service)