Frightening statistics of COVID-19: Extending lockdown

The statistics say it all. So while the number of positive cases of COVID-19 stood at 8,356 with a death toll of 273 on April 12, the figure shot up to 10,363 positive cases and 339 deaths on April 14. This was in the earlier hours of the day (April 14) and the figure may climb as the day progresses and the North East is no exception, with all the States, excepting Sikkim having joined the COVID-19 map, with the latest case coming from Meghalaya where a doctor has been reported to be positive of the virus. A day earlier, Nagaland too came to the COVID-19 map with another man reportedly returning a positive report. Only Sikkim today remains untouched by the virus, or so the tests conducted so far say, but given the manner in which the virus has been spreading, it will not come as such a big surprise if and when the Himalayan State reports a positive case. Making Manipur all that more jittery is the report that though the infected doctor at Shillong in Meghalaya has no history of travelling outside the State or country recently, his son-in-law who is a pilot with Air India and is from Manipur did visit him in the latter part of March this year. Prior to the son-in-law’s visit to Shillong he reportedly first came to Imphal and then proceeded to Shillong after spending some days here. Contact tracing has started and one only hopes that the doctor at Shillong did not contract the virus from his son-in-law who stopped at Imphal before meeting him. Whatever the case, Manipur should be ready to deal with any possibility and this is where the call of the Government to maintain social/physical distancing needs to be heeded sincerely.
And it is against this backdrop that the decision of the Centre to extend the lockdown period till May 3 should be understood and appreciated. Don’t mingle is the essence and it is this point which should be noted. To be sure, many do feel the inconveniences of the lockdown but the call here is about human lives and this is a point which should not blow over the heads of the people. Manipur has had only two positive cases so far, but this is not the time to let the guards down. The young girl, who incidentally was the first in the North East region, to test positive for the virus, has been discharged from the hospital, but remember she is still under self quarantine at home and here is a lesson for all. If a person who has been declared fit enough to return home, after testing positive, still has to undergo self quarantine, the people should not remain blind to this fact. This means that it is incumbent on all to maintain social or physical distancing, personal hygiene and do away with all events that call for mass congregation. This is the essence in the lockdown call and also in extending the lockdown by another two weeks. Time for all to acknowledge the point that public health rests to a great extent on the responsibility of the people. Stay home, stay safe is the line that should stay on top of the priority of everyone now.