Mantra of trace, test and treat
Running low on testing kits
Test touba hek leppadi covid, novid naba amatta thengnaroi. A tongue in the cheek exchange between friends, to express their helplessness over the never ending increase in the number of positive cases ever since the virus landed on the soil of Manipur and while the exasperation of the verbal exchange is understandable, it becomes disturbing to note that the daily testing for COVID-19 has been declining in the last few days. In a way this is not surprising in the sense that this situation came about just after The Sangai Express reported in the 18th October issue that Covid testing kits are running low and this should more than say that no one should rejoice over the comparatively lesser number of people testing positive. Earlier, the trend was on the higher side of over 200 people testing positive in a day and it was with a pinch of salt that the report of only 154 testing positive on October 23 was digested. This is not all for just two days later, Manipur recorded the lowest case so far of 140 in 24 hours on October 25. Take the number of tests conducted and things should become a little clearer. On October 26, the number of test conducted was 1944 while on October 25 it was 1825. This obviously goes against the catch phrase of successfully facing the virus, which is test, trace and treat. Without testing, tracing would not be possible and hence no question of treating and herein lies the question of how successful has Manipur been in facing the onslaught of the virus. Already 150 people have died due to the virus and over 17 thousand have been infected and if the testing rate slows down, then Manipur could well be sitting on a Covid time bomb. Not a healthy scenario. No official line has been given on why Manipur is facing or faced a situation of low testing kits, but an explanation is certainly needed. Indifference is not what the people need at this moment.
To be sure the Government must be hard pressed in facing the situation but it would help so much more if efforts are made to demonstrate that it means business in facing the pandemic. And certainly running low on testing kits at this crucial moment is uncalled for. It would not hurt to repeat a point mentioned here earlier and this is where Manipur would need a daily update on the situation. True there are daily updates from the COVID-19 Common Control Room and its spokesman who is also the Additional Director of Health Services in Manipur, but it would need more than just statistics to let the people know on how the Government and its various agencies are doing in coping with the pandemic. Perhaps a Minister, who can update on the situation and speak out at crucial times is what the people need and not just statistics given out daily in the evening. On the other hand, the number of deaths is increasing on a daily basis and this is where steps need to be taken to see the number of deaths beyond the statistics. It is a global pandemic and while the State Government may think it has put its best foot forward, it would not hurt to look for ways on how to improve its response to the situation. Perhaps a look at how the campaigning for the by elections is shaping up would help a great deal. A look at these ACs should more than say on how the SOPs are being violated with impunity and it wouldn’t be surprising if Manipur sees a surge in positive cases at these places in the days to come. Best for all not to forget that winter is at hand and if reports from experts are to go by then the virus can only get more active in the cold of winter. Trace, test and treat is another mantra that should not be forgotten.