The reality : Virus is still out there
Let it be very clear. The virus is still out there. The number of positive cases may have seen a downward trend in the last couple of days, but the latest report of 20 people out of 41 testing positive from a single locality should more than say that the virus is still very much potent and can spread at will. Not the time to let the guards down by any stretch of the imagination. Obviously the Government may have taken the decision to allow gathering of ‘200 persons in closed spaces and keeping of the size of ground/space in view, in open spaces subject to strict adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour,’ after due consideration but the low count in the last couple of days should not blind its judgment. The decision of the Government follows the request of some organisations for certain relaxations in view of the coming Christmas and New Year festivals, is the official line. Further night curfew which is in force from 10 pm to 4 am on all days has also been relaxed in the intervening nights of December 23, 24 and 25 and December 31 and January 1, 2021 and will come into force only from 12 am. No doubt, Christmas is the biggest festival of the Christians, but this is a festival which comes every year and celebrating the day within the confine of one’s home will not rob it of its sheen. It just does not make sense for 200 people to gather under one roof, just because the Government has relaxed the restriction for the day. And remember a decree that 200 people may gather is more than likely to be flouted for gatherings at any wedding or social dos should reflect the reality that people are more than likely to go against the dos and don’ts laid down by the Government. It should also be kept in mind that if the virus can mutate on a large scale and become 70 times more contagious, as experienced at England, the possibility of the same happening here in Manipur cannot be ruled out at all.
No chances should be taken. Probably in line with the steps taken up by the Indian Council of Medical Research the State Government has done away with the mandatory testing of incoming air passengers and screening of passengers at Mao and Jiribam, and The Sangai Express has already aired its concern over this. This is a global pandemic and one wonders why exceptions should be made for festivals. Covid Appropriate Behaviour can at best be just a guideline given to the people and much more likely that it will be flouted and the daily report of so and so many people pulled up and ‘so much of money collected as fines’ should open the eyes of the Government and all concerned to the fact that the people of Manipur just do not have it in them to be a disciplined lot. This lack of discipline is something seen daily on the roads of Imphal and one need not go into the details of how traffic jams are caused more by the people who refuse to stick to rules and regulations than the number of vehicles on the roads. Now is not the time to relax and let the guards down but to tighten the belt and see if the current low count of positive cases on a single day can be used as the ideal moment to break the chain. And most importantly, it should also be noted that local spread of the virus is a reality for almost all the positive cases have now come from people with no known travel history.