Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday appealed to people across the country to be sensitive to all communities and refrain from racial profiling and discrimination in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

Reacting to reports of alleged discrimination of Nagas working and studying in other parts of the country and tagging them as “Chinese and virus carriers”, Rio said the country must move forward as one nation at this juncture.

“These are extraordinary times and we need to unite to face the challenge under a spirit of oneness,” the chief minister said while addressing the people for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Rio appealed to all the people, particularly students, coming from outside the state to first stay at the quarantine facilities such as Niathu Resort in Dimapur and Cricket Academy in Sovima.

Maintaining that there is no need to panic but one has to be alert and cautious to ensure that nobody is infected, Rio sought the co-operation and support of every citizen of the state to adhere to all the steps and preventive measures being taken by the state government to prevent and contain the spread of the virus. Affirming that nobody has been infected with coronavirus in the state, he asked the citizens not to be complacent.

The medical department and all the health personnel have been working day in and day out to prevent the spread of the virus, he said, adding that the department is fully prepared to provide care and the requisite medical assistance to anyone in case of any eventuality.

The state government has issued instructions and is adopting various steps such as restricting public movement, closure of public places and other such containment measures for preventing the spread of the virus, he said.

Rio also appreciated the enthusiasm of people in cooperating with the government and sought continued cooperation from them to defeat the threat posed by coronavirus.

Urging the people of Nagaland to adopt the best practices of personal hygiene and social distancing as recommended by the health authorities, he asked everyone to maintain strict vigil and help the authorities in preventing rumours and fake news from being spread. “The next few weeks are very crucial in our fight to defeat Covid-19,” he said.

“With the active participation of each and everyone, we can together overcome these difficult times,” he said. “Every citizen is a member of team Nagaland and together we will overcome the hurdles that lie ahead,” the chief minister added.

The novel virus which originated in Wuhan, China last year in December has now gripped the world and with it many have given it a racist twist by calling it a ‘Chinese Virus’. President Donald Trump attracted sharp criticism from China after he termed the COVID-19 as ‘Chinese Virus’. Many Asians who work in the west have also been facing racist incidents due to the novel virus.