The first ever Biosafety Laboratory Level-3 in Nagaland was inaugurated on Thursday by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in presence of Dy Chief Minister Y Patton, Health Minister S Pangnyu Phom and a host of officials at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK).

CM Neiphiu Rio speaking at the inaugural function informed that stranded citizens from outside have already started coming back to the state and till date a total of 1,672 people have arrived and are currently kept in the quarantine centres in Kohima, Dimapur and district headquarters.

Rio said the state is expecting more returnees with the announcement of flight resumption and about 1,400 are expected to arrive from Chennai, adding that more than 18,000 people have registered in the iamstranded portal.

He pointed out that as the state prepares to welcome and support the returnees, they should also abide by the directives and all be kept in the quarantine facility so that if anybody is tested positive it will be easier to control and contain the spread of the virus.

“The only thing to control is to keep testing and contain the spread. We will now be doing the test here in the state,” Rio said.

The Chief Minister thanked the State of Manipur and Assam for rendering their services to the Nagaland in sample testing and said that the state is now in a better position to fight the pandemic and hopes Nagaland will continue to be in the green zone.

Taking to Twitter after the ceremony, Rio wrote, “Inaugurated BSL-3 lab at NHAK. It’ll not only be able to test for #COVID19 but also conduct researches & tests for other viral diseases when the need arises. On behalf of Nagaland govt I express gratitude to our neighboring states Assam & Manipur for helping us in our time of need.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Pangnyu Phom expressed his gratitude to Governor RN Ravi for taking keen interest and  personally monitoring the progress of the works and following up with GoI for logistics support.

Phom highlighted the challenges that was faced during the initial stages in setting up the Laboratory which began from April 16.

“In reality, this type of work requires 6 months or more for a place like Nagaland. We have made it possible in about a month, with world class instruments and containment building”, said Phom.

He added that the lab is now approved from the ICMR to carry out testing. With the commissioning of the lab, the state is now ready for COVID-19 testing which is also the only facility in the whole of Northeast India.

The BSL-3 will start testing from Friday. A maximum of 90 tests can be conducted in a day. Four Research Scientists, two laboratory technicians, one system analyst and two security guards will be working in the laboratory.

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