Dimapur, August 27: Private hotels in Dimapur requisitioned as paid quarantine centres will stop taking new bookings from September 1. The decision comes after the hoteliers, the office of the Chief Medical Officer Dimapur and the district administration failed to agree on the new modalities in keeping with the August 6, 2020 directive of the State Health & Family Welfare Department.
A contentious directive of August 6, signed by the Principal Director of the Health & Family Welfare Department, made it mandatory for hotels (paid QCs) to arrange and pay for a doctor and nurse each on a 24×7 basis. On August 10, the CMO Dimapur had withdrawn the quick response team (QRT) assigned to the paid QCs despite protests by the hoteliers who made it clear that operating the paid QCs under the new directive was not just “impractical” but also impossible.
Reportedly medical personnel under the CMO Dimapur have been uncompromising and adamant, which forced the hands of the hoteliers.
However in a communiqué on August 22, the Principal Director of State Health & Welfare Department, Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie had also asked the Dimapur District Task Force for COVID-19 to release, at the earliest, all private hotels requisitioned and in use as institutional quarantine centers (IQC) and COVID Care Centres (CCC) and to continue the institutional quarantine facilities and CCC in Government buildings as far as possible in order to effectively and optimally utilize resources and to sustain resource for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had also encouraged the DTF to promote home isolation of asymptomatic confirmed cases.
Addressing the media Thursday afternoon here, the Nagaland Hotel & Restaurant Association (NHRA) said private hotels will not be able to meet the demands of the doctors and hence decision has been taken to stop fresh bookings, and cancel all pre-booking. This was resolved in a meeting held on August 25 at Hotel Europa Inn and a copy of the memorandum has also been submitted to DC Dimapur Rajesh Soundarararajan on August 27.
NHRA general secretary, Seyiekhrielie Natso said keeping up with the new SOP, which had made it mandatory for hotels (paid QCs) to arrange and pay for a doctor and nurse each on a 24×7 basis, the NHRA managed to acquire the services of four doctors who would be paid a fixed amount. It was decided that all 41 hotels in Dimapur, which are operating as paid QCs, would pool in to pay for the services rendered by the four doctors. Besides that, those undergoing quarantine would have to pay Rs 300 for telephonic consultations and Rs 500 per visit for physical examinations.
However, the doctors apparently also have demanded that PPE kits be provided for them by the hotels.
According to Natso, it is impossible for the hotels to pay for the PPE kits, which are expensive, as they are already giving out rooms on discounted prices as stipulated by the Dimapur District Task Force. The NHRA had requested that the PPE kits be provided by the government, but the CMO turned down the proposal.
“We can provide sanitizers, masks, and gloves, but not PPEs,” Natso said. He informed that in the initial days when hotels were being requisitioned as quarantine centres, it was assured that each hotel would be provided with sanitizers, gloves, etc. by the government and the staff would be given basic training.
Besides the issue of the PPE kits, another area where the NHRA and the office of the CMO seem to be at loggerheads is the collection of data.
The CMO has reportedly demanded that once a new inmate arrives, the record has to be physically submitted to the CMO Office. Again, before the due date of testing, a list of all those to be tested needs to be made available to the CMO Office, and then the reports are to be collected from the office. The onus of maintaining and submitting all records of those under quarantine is being put on the hoteliers.
The NHRA had proposed that the hoteliers be allowed to submit all data over WhatsApp or emails, but the CMO refused to budge from its demand that data should be regularly submitted to the office of the CMO on a regular basis, physically.
DC Dimapur Rajesh Soundarararajan, when contacted, informed that the issue of collection of data has already been resolved. The District administration as well as the CMO office collects the same data, and hence the District Administration would make the data available to the CMO Office instead of burdening the hoteliers with the task.
On the issue of PPE kits, he assured that it would also be resolved in time.
Moreover it has also been reported that lack of coordination among the various agencies, delay in testing and results have been causing problems between the hotels and the returnees on the issue of overstay. According to the hoteliers, the inmates after completing seven days in quarantine wants to get out on the eighth day regardless of the status of their test results and that is causing confrontation between the returnees and the hotels’ management. Many have reportedly refused to pay for “overstay”; that is rent for rooms beyond the seven days. Reportedly, the confusion is being caused during the screening by the authorities as the returnees are being told that the quarantine period would be of seven days, and not minimum seven days.
Nagaland Page tried to seek response from the office of the Chief Medical Officer Dimapur on the issue multiple times, but got no response.
Interestingly, hotels in Kohima have reportedly not been issued the same directives as their counterparts in Dimapur.