High Court directs Nagaland to set up Covid-19 testing labs in 10 days
Nagaland doesn’t have a testing lab for Covid-19 and the only person from the state to test positive is now is Assam.Updated: Apr 28, 2020, 15:46 IST
The Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court on Tuesday directed the Nagaland government to set up two Covid-19 testing labs within 10 days.
Acting on a PIL filed by V Suokhrie, a division bench of Justice Songkhupchung Serto and Justice S. Hukato Swu ordered the Nagaland government to “make at least two testing labs of Covid-19 functional within 10 days”.
The court also directed the government to “make every effort to establish other labs at strategic places in the state to facilitate free testing in the future”.
Nagaland doesn’t have a single testing lab for Covid-19 and all its samples are sent to labs in Assam. Till Monday, 629 samples from the state had been tested.
The lone Covid-19 case from the state, a 33-year businessman from Dimapur is undergoing treatment at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). He has also been counted among the Covid-19 patients of Assam by the Union health and family welfare ministry.
“The PIL was filed seeking the court’s indulgence on certain gaps which the respondents might have overlooked while dealing with Covid-19 preparedness in Nagaland,” said Neiteo Koza, counsel for the petitioner.
Though an IAF aircraft landed in Dimapur on April 16 with equipment needed to set up bio-safety level 3 (BSL-3) lab in Nagaland to test samples of suspected Covid-19 patients, the facility has not yet started functioning.
In its order, the HC asked the state government to provide sufficient PPE kits to all persons involved in treatment of Covid-19 patients and looking after persons in quarantine centres.
Till Monday 31 people were in quarantine in the state and 1,090 people had been screened, Nagaland health minister S Pangnyu Phom said.
The bench also directed that the state government should increase the number of ICU facilities and ventilators, provide ambulances to Covid-19 patients at the earliest and ensure that there is no shortage of trained personnel.
“The state received another batch of equipment to set up a BSL-3 testing lab at Dimapur and some additional equipment for the BSL-2 lab in Kohima on Monday. The health department also received 10 new ambulances on Tuesday which will cater exclusively to Covid-19 patients and those in quarantine,” Phom said.
The bench asked the government to ensure that the two hospitals - one in Dimapur and one in Kohima – are dedicated for treatment of Covid-19 patients are fully equipped and functional within two weeks.