Need to tighten one’s belt Unlock 2 on in Manipur

Now that more relaxations have been announced for Manipur, in line with the Nationwide Unlock 5.0 effective from October 1, the State Government will need to tighten its belt, given the rising number of positive cases as well as in the number of deaths. Nationwide a figure of 11,111 (As on Oct 1)  positive cases may not count for much, but look at the region, the demography, the population density, the health infrastructure and anything else needed to fight a pandemic as the one the world is facing right now and the voice of concern that is being raised now should become relevant. The coming different festivals is one point that has already been commented upon and equally worrying is the coming by elections in some Assembly segments. Round this off with the decision of the State Government that assembly of more than 100 with the cap put on 200 would be allowed after October 15 and this is cause for more concern. The cap of 200 persons refers to enclosed space and there is another point which says that assembly of more people in open space would depend on the size of the area or ground or whatever with no cap on the number of people to assemble. This is where it gets worrying for the past has shown that to many in Manipur, maintaining social distancing is not at the top of their agenda. Even a simple instruction such as to wear a face mask whenever one steps out is violated with impunity and news of people getting pulled up and fined for not wearing face mask continue to make it to the pages of the newspapers published from Imphal. It is in such a scenario that the State Government has gone ahead and announced Unlock 2, the second one in Manipur.
The figure is worrying. In the North East region, Manipur occupies the unenviable third spot in the number of infection after Assam which has 1.81 lakh infection with  697 deaths and Tripura with 26,000 infected persons and 283 deaths, both as on October 1. Now with the State’s own version of further relaxation with Unlock 2 on, one may expect the figure to climb higher. For the last many, many days, Manipur has been witnessing three figure increase and an increase in the number of deaths. The figure of 11,111 as on October 1 is disturbing given that the population of Manipur is about 30 lakhs. So too is the death case officially put at 68 (as on Oct 1). For reasons which have not been spelt out, the two deaths from Churachandpur a few days back have not featured in the official record of COVID-19 related deaths. With more activities being relaxed with leeways given to assembly of people, the responsibility should be clear to all. Even in the event of people assembling, especially in the run up to the by elections in some Assembly Constituencies, it should be incumbent on everyone to maintain safety measures. The sense of apprehension sounded by Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency MLA Kh Joykisan should be understood. By elections in some Assembly Constituencies, the coming festivals, the onset of Unlock 2 can all go together and script a lethal cocktail where only the virus that causes COVID-19 can thrive. It is up to the people to realise their responsibilities. Exercise one’s voting right in the by elections but do that with a sense of responsibility and remember Unlock 2 in the State should be seen as the time to demonstrate discipline.