The Nagaland government has decided to extend the ongoing lockdown in the state till July 31, and charge fees for COVID-19 tests and stay at quarantine centres at a later stage. The ongoing lockdown in the state, which was supposed to be lifted on July 16, was extended for another 15 days at a meeting of the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19 on Friday. Government spokesperson on COVID-19 and Planning and Coordination Minister Neiba Kronu told PTI that the HPC, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, took the decision after reviewing the existing measures and the rising cases of coronavirus in the state. Till Friday, the number of COVID-19 actives cases in Nagaland was 428, while 304 patients have recovered from the disease. The HPC also decided to charge fees from people for COVID-19 tests at government hospitals and their stay in institutional quarantine centres, Kronu said. He, however, maintained that the present arrangement of free testing and staying in quarantine facilities without any charge will continue till the extended period of the lockdown. The rates will be fixed later but they will be minimal, the minister said. He said the government has also decided to come out with a single standard operation procedure (SOP) for all purposes in the state to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, as there has been confusion over various SOPs issued by different authorities. Meanwhile, Principal Secretary (Home) Abhijit Sinha said the HPC has directed officials to expedite the process for recruitment of additional doctors and nurses to strengthen the healthcare system in the state.