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First COVID-19 lab inaugurated in Nagaland on May 21

PTI May 23, 2020

Nagaland on May 21 got its first state-of-the-art laboratory for testing of suspected COVID-19 samples, officials said.

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Samples from the state were till now sent to Assam and Manipur for testing. The Nagaland Chief Minister inaugurated the bio-safety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory at the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK). A BSL-3 laboratory includes work on microbes that are either indigenous or exotic, and can cause serious or potentially lethal disease through inhalation. "It is a milestone in the history of health care delivery services, particularly in the fight against COVID-19 in the state," said the MInister in his inaugural speech.

With two machines 90 tests can be conducted in the laboratory per day. The tests will begin from May 22. "By the grace of God, our state is free from any positive case of COVID-19. "We have been sending the suspected COVID-19 samples to Assam and Manipur for testing, and I want to express my gratitude to the governments of the neighbouring states for helping us during the time of crisis," the Minister said.

Till May 20, a total of 985 suspected samples were tested in Assam and Manipur. Of the 985, 952 have tested negative while results of 33 are awaited, he said. The Chief Minister expressed hope that the laboratory would not only deal with COVID-19 but also conduct research on any kind of virus. The state government started the process for setting up the laboratory at the NHAK on April 17, while all protocols were completed on May 12 and documents for validation were sent to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on the same day.

The Minister said, as many as 1,672 people of Nagaland stranded in other parts of the country have already arrived and are in government quarantine facilities in Dimapur and Kohima and other district headquarters. More people will be returning to the state on May 21 night. Till now, 18,622 people of the state stranded across the country have registered their names for returning to the state, he said. "We welcome them but all returnees have to abide by the directive of the government to remain in quarantine facilities. "We are team Nagaland and it is because of the united effort that the virus has not entered the state till date," the Chief Minister said.

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