No cure, highly contagious
Prevention the only way
The pace of spread is worrying and a look at its spread within a short span of just three months should underline this. As things stand today, over 3000 people have died worldwide while more than 88,400 have been reported to be infected by the highly contagious new coronavirus. As the outbreak continues to spread, situation in Iran and Italy is reported to be worsening each day with the former reporting at least 978 confirmed cases and 54 deaths since the first case was reported on February 19. In just 12 days, the number of infected has risen from 1 to 978 and this is a matter of serious concern. That the virus knows no international boundary is a given and from Wuhan in China it has now spread to at least 60 countries and there is no sign that it will stop or a vaccine will be produced to inoculate the people. Its spread is also simple, very simple for the virus can easily infect the hand from any surface and once it enters the mouth, eyes and nose it can work its way to the inner organs of man ! So far hand washing appears to be the best and most effective way to keep the virus at bay and it is amid this reality that Manipur too has taken up the needed preventive steps at places from where infected persons can enter the State not knowing about their status. Now with two confirmed cases of the virus arriving from Delhi and Telengana, the number of positive cases has shot up to five from the initial three. That the three persons have been fortunately cured is indeed welcome but this should be no reason to let the guards down.
With one positive case coming from Delhi, there is all the more reason for the personnel manning BT Airport at Imphal to pull up their socks, for Delhi is the destination for quite a large number of people from the State. Apart from the thousands of students from Manipur studying at Delhi, there are others too who have settled down with their families at the National capital. The fatality rate may be low, standing at 2 percent or lower which means that for every 100 person infected the death rate may be two or lower. It also stands that the death rate will also depend on one’s age, sex, general health and the health system that one lives in. It is the last point that the State Government should sincerely look into. How well equipped is the State to deal with any infected patient ? What is the treatment procedure, apart from keeping the infected under isolation ? How well protected are the personnel manning the entry points at Jiribam, Moreh, Mao and other places which are near the border area and are well known for human movements ? Health Director Dr K Rajo talked about the need to wear surgical masks and one hopes that the State has enough stock of the said surgical masks to meet any eventuality.