After a lockdown for one and a half months, the Nagaland government on Monday decided to begin a 10-day unlock period in the state from July 1, senior minister Neiba Kronu said. Addressing a press conference at the State Civil Secretariat here, government spokesperson for COVID-19 and Minister for Planning & Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs, Kronu said, "As the way forward, the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19 has decided to go for Unlock 1 from July 1 to 10".
The decision to this effect was taken during a virtual meeting of the HPC on COVID-19, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, as an outcome of the June 26 video conference interaction of the COVID-19 War Room, headed by Chief Secretary J Alam, with the District Task Force (DTF) on the prevailing coronavirus situation. The ongoing lockdown was scheduled to end on June 30, he said.
The 10-day period from July 1 with more relaxations will be an observation period for unlocking and reducing COVID-19 curbs in the state, Kronu said. From July 1, the HPC has decided to provide relaxations, including opening of business establishments and shops on a rotation basis, he said.
The curfew period or total restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles, earlier imposed from 4 pm to 5 am, has also been reduced. It will now be in force from 7 pm to 4 am, considering the agriculture season, he said. The respective DTFs will have the powers to further ease or add restrictions considering the local situations, he said.
Government offices will resume with 50 per cent staff in attendance. Churches, weddings, and funeral services will also be permitted with a maximum of 50 people, the minister said.
Nagaland entered into a total lockdown from May 14, considering the high surge in COVID-19 infections, and it had been extended four times, with relaxations. Nagaland’s COVID-19 positivity rate at the start of the total lockdown to curb the spread of the virus on May 14, was 24.66 per cent, while the overall positivity rate was 10.23 per cent.
The daily positivity rate has now come down to 8.26 per cent, while the overall positivity rate is 12.8 per cent, said Deputy Director of Health and Family Welfare Department Dr Nyanthung Kikon. The state has also improved the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients, from as low as 71.98 per cent on May 17 to 89.14 per cent on Sunday, with the caseload standing at 24,961, of which only 1,523 are active.
So far, 25,161 COVID-19 patients have been cured of the disease in nagaland. The death toll stands at 487 while 700 patients have migrated to other states.
Kronu, who is also the government spokesperson, said, to avoid future lockdowns, COVID-19 appropriate behaviour should be strictly maintained by all. COVID-19 testing and vaccination of people will be carried out in full swing, he said.
Asked about the opening of educational institutions, Principal Secretary Abhijit Sinha said, the closure of schools, and colleges will continue to remain in force, while there will be no stoppage of trains in the state for the time being. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for "Unlock-1" will be issued by the Home Department, while the respective DTFs have been empowered to take localised decisions, Sinha said.