From October 22 to October 25
Waiting for new SOP
This is not the time for ‘file pushing,’ not the time for ‘red tapism’ and certainly not the time to let the ‘excess adipose’ lull the Government machinery to an ‘afternoon siesta’. It was on October 22 that a much publicised high level meeting was held in the backdrop of the rising number of infected persons and increasing number of deaths and it was during the high level meeting that a decision was taken to come out with a new SOP and launch extensive campaign to sensitise the people on the proposed new SOP. More than 72 hours hence and there is nothing much to suggest that the Government has come anywhere near finalising a new SOP and this is what is disturbing. A look at the statistics should say how the virus has been spreading and claiming human lives ‘at will.’ On October 22, when the decision to work on a new SOP was taken, the number of infected stood at 16,621 while the figure of death was 127. Fast forward to October 25 and the number of infected has risen to 17,162 while the number of death stood at 139. It does not need a genius to deduce that in a span of 72 hours, the number of positive cases has shot up by over 500 while the number of death increased by over 12. Manipur is a small State with a small population of about 30 lakhs or so and the population density is at a healthy number of about 115 people per square kilometre. The number of over 17 thousand infected and the figure of deaths should be seen against the total population and the population density to really get a grasp of the situation. And as on October 24, the cumulative positivity rate was put at 5.07 percent and the fatality rate at 0.81 percent. The positivity rate of 5.07 percent may be healthy when compared with the 7.81 percent positivity rate in the whole country, but it will do good for all to remember that Manipur is not amongst the 5 States and one Union Territory where the positivity rate is below 5 percent.
It is a global pandemic and while the State Government has been putting its best foot forward to tackle the virus, the people too should respond to demonstrate that they too have a stake in the situation. The Sangai Express has already talked about how the SOPs are regularly violated during the campaigning in the run up to the bye elections in four Assembly seats (Singnat AC has already been bagged by the BJP) and in as much as the no holds barred campaigning is somewhat of an eyesore amid the pandemic, it should not be forgotten that the primary responsibility lies with the people. Even if there are election meetings, attend the same but do it with a sense of responsibility. No point in over crowding a meeting venue. Attend but ensure that in doing that social distancing is maintained. Should not be too tough a task if conscious efforts are made. The point is, if and when the State Government comes out with a new SOP, the importance of the people abiding by it cannot be over emphasised. The question is, just how seriously have the people taken the call of the Government to abide by the safety protocols laid down ? This is a question which only the people themselves can answer and a look at the major roads of Imphal on any working day should tell its own significant story. It is a global pandemic and there is as yet no vaccine available. The character of the virus is such that health experts are still studying how it transmits through different medium and how long it can survive in the air or any surface. COVID-19 has already taken a heavy toll and while it is expected of the Government to be ready to face any eventuality, it should not be forgotten that the public too have their own share of responsibility of keeping the virus away from the human community.