Rising number of deaths and infections
The situation is grim. Hundred and four deaths, as on October 15 and this is without adding the 53 year old woman who was rushed to the hospital not for anything related to COVID-19 but due to a severe abdominal pain but later tested positive for the virus. The Health Department is yet to add her death in the list of COVID-19 related deaths reported so far, but the figure nevertheless tells a significant story, a story that says that more than 100 have died due to the virus till date. Compared to States like Maharastra, Karnataka, Telangana and even neighbouring Assam, a figure of 104 is not much, but read the total figure against the backdrop of the 30 lakh or so population of the State and it is not comforting at all. The number of infected also continues to grow and for the last many days it has been a case of Manipur witnessing a daily increase of over 200 per day and this is disturbing. The rate of increase is disturbing, no doubt, but making things all that more scary is the fact that the healthcare system in Manipur just does not seem to be primed to deal with a pandemic of this scope. Note the stress on the word system and this is where people, the public too need to realise that to make any system work more efficiently they also have a corresponding responsibility. It also stands that as things stand today, there are reports that the two major hospitals in Manipur, RIMS and JNIMS now do not have enough beds for people infected with the virus and this where the line, ‘not primed to deal with a pandemic of this scope’ needs to be first acknowledged. And once this is acknowledged then maybe people will come more around to the idea that all need to stick to the SOPs laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Following the guidelines is not rocket science technology and one wonders why certain sections of the people just do not seem to care.
Just 24 hours after The Sangai Express ran the story ‘Mapping begins for localised lockdown’ with the report giving a brief detail that ‘lockdown’ might be imposed in Thangmeiband area, came the official report that at least seven leikais in Thangmeiband have been declared containment zones, severely restricting the movement of people. Such measures may be taken up in the other leikais in the days to come. Clear indication that Manipur is desperately looking for ways to deal with the pandemic and such measures may come to define the remaining part of 2020 or until a vaccine is found. Manipur has now entered the Unlock 2 stage but it should not be forgotten that the virus is still out there infecting at will and claiming human lives as if there is no tomorrow. Many may be out on the road because they need to move out, but again there is the distinct possibility that not all would be moving around due to absolutely necessary reasons. This is the worrying part. The Government obviously cannot be expected to keep a tab on the movement of everyone and this is where the responsibility of everyone becomes absolutely necessary. The virus spreads from man to man and this fact should not be lost on anyone. Not the time to socialise. Stay indoors as much as possible. Already more than 100 people have died, as on October 15, and even as this commentary is being written, the virus may have claimed more human lives. More would have been infected. This is the grim reality. Not the time for bravados now, and it is best for the Government to acknowledge the reality and see how best to make up for the shortfalls in the health care system.