KOHIMA, JULY 23: Nagaland Minister for PWD (Housing), Tongpang Ozukum today said that people in the State, especially at Kohima, have taken the second wave of the Coronavirus lightly which has resulted in a surge of positive cases.
Ozukum, who is also Minister in-charge for Kohima District Task Force (DTF) on COVID-19, said this while speaking to Reporters after a COVID-19 testing and vaccination sensitization programme for Kohima Municipal area organized by the DTF at DPDB Conference Hall here.
As directed by the State Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, during the past week DTF Kohima covered all areas of Kohima district, including Sub-Divisional Headquarters, to sensitise and create awareness to ramp up testing against COVID-19 and vaccination of people, he said.
People took the first wave of COVID-19 with seriousness because of which the virus could be contained from spreading but in the current second wave people seem to have taken COVID-19 lightly or may have become fed up which is leading to a surge in the positive case, he said.
In this, the Minister cautioned that the second wave is much more serious than the first wave and requested people not to lower their guard but to get tested and also avail the benefit of free COVID-19 vaccination drive in health centres and also special vaccination drives.
Compared to other States, Nagaland is way behind in terms of testing and vaccination but the death rate is much higher than other States, he remarked.
Nonetheless, saying that the COVID-19 sensitization campaign, which started on July 16, has been very fruitful and productive with massive response from village councils and panchayat leaders, the Minister expressed hope that they would go back to their people and create a positive environment for people to come forward for COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
Asked on the decision to continue the restrictions against COVID-19 after the end of Unlock-3 on August 1, Ozukum said the final call will be taken by the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, after the considering the ground realities.
He continued saying that the unlock process has begun because of the pressure from various quarters and not because COVID-19 has gone. “We are slowly trying to unlock but depending on the situation HPC will take the call whether to strengthen the lockdown or for further unlock”, he said.
Collective responsibility to dispel doubts and misconceptions: Advisor Yhokha
Advisor for Technical Education and Elections, Medo Yhokha said the DTF took the call to reach the people in rural areas even as it was an exhaustive exercise with an objective to dispel the many doubts and misconceptions on COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
The Government is ready to take the call by giving the right information but unless the public comes forward it will not be possible for the Government alone to fight the pandemic, he said.
“It is the responsibility of all the people to take the call and join the fight against COVID-19”, he said.
Since Kohima has shown a poor sign since the peak of the pandemic, concerted efforts have been given by the District Administration and Health Department, he said.
However, with Unlock-3 in progress many more activities will open up including business and educational institutions as well as migrant workers returning and it will put the capital town in a very vulnerable situation, he said.
Therefore, Yhokha said now it should be the paramount responsibility of every denizen to join hands with the administration for testing and vaccination against COVID-19.
Lockdown will be re-imposed if situation remains grim: DC Kohima
Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of DTF Kohima, Gregory Thejaweli said the DTF has covered the entire district as an initiative to underline the importance of testing and vaccination along with an emphasis on maintaining COVID-appropriate behavior (CAB).
“We felt that if testing, vaccination and CAB can be taken care of, things may not come to completely normalcy but we can restore certain normalcy”, he said.
During the campaigns, people sought clarity on various issues concerning COVID-19, he said, adding that this was the first initiative but if need be more such tours will be conducted in order to achieve the goal of creating better awareness.
Asked on DTF’s decision for COVID-19 restrictions after the Unlock-3 ends, Thejawelie said Kohima started with a containment zone with the deteriorating and grim situation, which was followed by lockdown.
Now the situation is not yet normal but things have improved slightly because of which Unlock phases started relaxing various activities, he said.
This will continue but provided the situation does not deteriorate further, he said.
Nonetheless, the DC expressed hope that with the successful conduct of the sensitization programme throughout the district, people would become more responsible and the administration would be able to conduct more testing to identify the virus, isolate and break the chain of transmission.
We will also pursue vaccination because if the percentage of vaccination increases then naturally more movement can be encouraged and continue with the process of unlocking with more relaxations, he said.
But the DC cautioned that lockdown measures will be re-imposed strictly if the situation does not improve.
Kohima COVID positivity rate above 10%: CMO
Chief Medical Officer Dr Vezokholu Theyo while informing that the State capital Kohima has been recording positivity rate of more than 10% for past some weeks, stressed on the need to reinstate restrictive measures because the virus is still larking around.
Nonetheless, she said that in order to curb the spread of the virus, the DTF Kohima is aiming at creating awareness on following COVID-appropriate behavior, early testing, isolating and treatment besides vaccination.
She informed that in Kohima district till Thursday, a total of 1,13,099 people, out of the nearly 2 lakh population in Kohima, have been vaccinated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, out of which 18,634 have received the second dose. Around 52% of the population have been vaccinated in Kohima district, she said.
Informing that there is shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, she requested all eligible persons 18 years and above to get inoculated.
Dr Theyo also informed that in order to ramp up COVID-19 testing, her office has set up a free Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) facility in all the health centres – 22 Health and Wellness Centres, 14 PHC, 3 Community Health Centres and 2 Urban PHC.
A target of 50 sample tests have been set for each centre per week, she said.
Confusion on COVID-19 deaths
An officer of CMO, Kohima, during the sensitisation programme with leaders of municipal areas, had said that about 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the State capital are due to co-morbid conditions.
However, replying to media queries as to why it isn’t reflected in the State-level daily COVID-19 bulletin issued by the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, wherein the mortality not related to COVID-19 stands at just 14 out of the 536 deaths in the State, Health officers said that the district level review committee for COVID-19 deaths make their own recommendations for the district based on the case history but the final decision on whether the fatality is due to COVID-19 or other related disease is taken by the State level committee on COVID-19 deaths.
The daily COVID-19 bulletin shows that 93 positive patients have died in Kohima till yesterday, of which the non-COVID death is zero.
Asked what has been the total recommendation of the Kohima district deaths review committee due to co-morbidities in the State capital, the medical offices said they have in their record but were unable to provide the details.
Many COVID-19 positive deaths in Kohima have happened due co-morbid conditions with many due to diabetic and hypertension and some cases related to cancer, said an officer adding that the district review committee only reviews and reports it while the State level death review committee has the ultimate say.
On this Minister Ozukum justified saying that deaths are not due to co-morbidities but due to late hospitalization after self-treatment at homes.
(Page News Service)