Janata Curfew- ‘Go corona’ festival

Vikram Yengkhom
India celebrated one of the biggest festivals yesterday with thousands of people Nationwide ringing bells, beating drums, plates and clapping in consonance with the magic mantra “Go Corona, Corona Go” to scare off the virus that has infected and killed thousands worldwide.
Yes, the ‘Janata Curfew’ called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to encourage social distancing to break the virus transmission chain, turned festivals of as that even coronavirus must have been scared of the zeal people had and their level of ‘enthusiasm’.
People woke up to a silent morning with ‘social distancing’ on their minds. Streets of Imphal and elsewhere were empty and police were busy stopping vehicles and advising people to stay indoors. But, when the clock struck 4/5 pm, people were all over the roads beating drums and clapping. Manipur too joined the festival with people in many parts answering to the clarion call of the leaders. Some beat plates and others Pungs in large gatherings.
Some said it was to encourage the health workers–doctors and nurses who are frontline warriors in this epidemic. Others simply put it as ‘genuine stupidity.’ When encouraging the healthworkers and giving cooperation is important, people should bear in their minds that it is equally important that we respect and follow the preventive and precautionary guidelines that the healthworkers have been advising us to follow to avoid the virus.
When socializing /public gatherings are strictly prohibited, prompting Governments to shut down even markets and schools, all the clapping in large groups yesterday had defeated the one advice that they (health authorities) have been advocating since the beginning of the epidemic. Doctors have been asking people to stay indoors and avoid large gathering, and there they were in large groups cheering the doctors on the streets, probably multiplying the number of COVID-19 patients.
The Janata curfew was called to encourage social distancing but it ended up gathering people in large numbers. It is here we should study how aware are our people and how committed are we to stop this epidemic before it engulfs the entire Nation and the State in flame. Going by the things happening around us, there is serious need for educating people about the virus.
There are some drinking cow urine and bathing in manure and there are others who are clapping and ringing Temple bells to kill germs and viruses.
Unfortunately, there are even some who are evading quarantine increasing the risk of community transmission of the virus manifold. If we are to face this virus, we have to be well aware.
Well aware means well prepared. Government should disseminate right information and people should stop spreading rumours that may undermine the efforts health authorities are putting in to fight the virus.
With increasing cases daily, the novel coronavirus is forcing Governments to shutdown businesses and borders hitting the daily wage earners the hardest. The tasks ahead for the State Government is not only to contain and stop the virus but also to ensure that people have all essential goods and services available to them.
Amidst the raising concerns and efforts to contain and prevent the virus spread, there are some who are opposing setting up of quarantine facilities in the irrespective areas. Maybe they are opposing because they lack proper awareness and understanding of the gravity of the situation or they are in panic that the virus may leak and spread from the quarantine facilities.
Either way, people should be made well aware of the disease and how the virus will be contained, for the need of the hour is to shed ‘selfishness’ and unite as one against the virus. As people expect the Government, doctors and healthworkers to do their jobs, people should also perform their duties by co-operating. Creating problems and hurdles for health authorities will only worsen the epidemic which may even kill you.
People should be extra careful for this virus knows no boundary and status. You may not find a quarantine facility to get treatment when you are infected!! You never know.
Let’s not impose Janata curfew only to gather in groups and clap. Instead, let’s all stay at our homes as far as possible, minimize socialising and be safe. Most importantly, let’s not run and hide when we have the COVID-19 symptoms!!
The writer is a Sub-Editor at The Sangai Express. Views expressed are personal