Kohima, July 4: The Government of Nagaland appears to be not serious of the COVID-19 scenario in State capital Kohima as the situation demands considering the high probability that the coronavirus might have seeped through the walls of the COVID-19 hospitals and quarantine centers and entered public spaces.
There is genuine panic among citizens here over fear that the COVID-19 situation is likely to shift from local transmission to community transmission unless the State authorities take proactive action.
These fears cannot be overlooked with at least 3 frontline workers testing positive for COVID-19 in Kohima within the space of a week.
On June 25, a contractual worker of Naga Hospital Authority Kohima, a resident of PWD Colony here, was tested COVID-19 positive. Later another 2 frontline workers, one engaged in management of quarantine centre and another in the Bethel Kitchen tested positive on July 2, sending shockwave among the general public.
The first COVID-19 positive case in Nagaland was reported on May 24 when under total lockdown in line with the Central Government’s directives to prevent entry of the virus into the State. The number of positive cases in the State has jumped to 563 as on June 4. State capital Kohima has 123 confirmed cases of which 48 have recovered and 75 are asymptomatic.
Amidst fears of an increasing number of positive cases, a contractual worker in Naga Hospital Authority Kohima who had been attending his duties and returning to his home at PWD Colony was found COVID-19 positive on June 25.
The DTF Kohima had immediately sealed the entire PWD area as a containment zone and aggressive tracing of the primary and secondary contacts of the NHAK worker was initiated the same day and house to house surveillance started the next day.
When this fear was yet to settle, social media updates of two frontline workers, one engaged in management of quarantine centre and another in the Bethel Kitchen were found to be positive on July 2, sent shock wave among the general public as this time it was not only one colony but people from different churches living in different colonies were enthusiastically working in the Bethel Kitchen to cook and serve the returnees in quarantine centres in the State capital.
Unlike PWD Colony, the Bethel Kitchen had believers from Churches of different communities engaged and they obviously had come together from almost all the colonies.
Officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department despite being contacted several times to confirm the actual date of collection of suspected swab samples of the two frontline workers, whether they were sent to isolation and when their test result was out, is yet to give any exact date and accurate response.
The department only says that aggressive contact tracing is being done, but whereas Churches who had been to the Bethel Kitchen on June 29&30 are in dilemma as to whether any of their believers were in close contact with the two frontline workers and the possible contraction of the virus.
Moreover, sources staying in the colonies of the two frontline workers said they are worried as they claimed the two were reportedly seen moving around until the day their test results were declared and went viral on social media.
The reports that one of the COVID-19 positive frontline workers detected on July 2 had been to the State Secretariat earlier for a meeting with top State officials as well as a primary contact’s spouse is an officer working in the Secretariat, have heightened the public fear.
Why were the colonies where the two frontline workers tested positive as reported on July 2 not declared a containment zones as was done in case of PWD colony? Also why is the State Secretariat not declared a containment zones, considering that a positive case was inside the Secretariat complex and might have had numerous contact with the workers there? These are questions that need answers to assuage the public fear.
(Page News Service)