Nagaland: Person out of quarantine found COVID-19 +ve

Nagaland: Person released from quarantine centre found COVID-19 positive, health secretary removed

The Nagaland government has removed the health department principal secretary after a Chennai returnee, who was released from a quarantine centre before his test results arrived, tested positive for COVID-19, an official said on Sunday.

The state government has also ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident, he said.

Principal Secretary Menukhol John has been relieved of his additional charge of the health department and Commissioner and Secretary, Art and Culture, Ahola Those given the charge.

The government has constituted a three-member committee, headed by retired District and Session Judge L N Sema, to probe into the transportation of Chennai returnees to Tuensang, it said. Advocates Akum Jamir and Yangthsapila Sangtam are other members of the panel that will submit its report within 15 days.

The committee will enquire whether standard operation procedures formulated by the state government regarding transporting the returnees to their respective districts were followed or not.

The man, who was kept at a quarantine centre in Kohima, was released on May 25 and his COVID-19 test report arrived the next day.

He had returned to Tuensang district from the southern metropolis along with 150 others.

The Eastern Nagaland Peoples' Organisation (ENPO) has demanded action against officials concerned for violation of the standard operation procedures (SOP) in the matter, according to a notification issued on Saturday.

The Nagaland In-Service Doctors' Association (NIDA), however, expressed their resentment over removal of the principal secretary from the health department.

The association wrote a letter to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, saying the government had brought "one of the most experienced bureaucrats" to the health department to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

"Under his leadership, the department has been able to step up effectively its preparedness and response... the association is shocked and dismayed to learn about the hasty removal of the administrative head of department," the doctors' body said in the letter.

The NIDA urged the government to immediately revoke the order.

Meanwhile, seven more returnees from Chennai tested positive for COVID-19 in Nagaland on Sunday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 43, Health and Family Welfare Minister S Pangnyu Phom said.

The state recorded a surge in the number of cases with migrants from other parts of the country returning home.

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