Bit different but threat the same
Not a free for all
The case of Manipur is a bit different with only two having tested positive for COVID-19 so far and both being declared negative now, after undergoing treatment at JNIMS and RIMS. Very much different from the more than 17 thousand positive cases reported from across the country at about midnight of April 19 with 559 deaths reported so far. This however should not mean that the State Government should treat the threat from COVID-19 any differently. It is sheer providence that only two have so far tested positive and the two have tested negative now after days of treatment and there is nothing to predict that Manipur cannot see a second wave of infection if adequate care is not taken. Note why the words so far have been given in italics. Now with the State Government having decided to relax the ongoing lockdown in 15 sectors, following the Centre’s decision to ease the restrictions on certain economic activities under the theme ‘Jaan bhi, jahan bhi’ (Lives as well as livelihood), the responsibility now comes to the public to ensure that the days of lockdown that the people underwent is not defeated. This is where certain lessons ought to be learnt from the April 11 experience when some markets were allowed to be open in view of the Cheiraoba festival and Easter Sunday on April 12 and April 13. The real character of the people came out in all its ugly manifestations on the said day where it was a free for all, with people jostling to get their hands on the items put up for sale. Social or physical distancing be damned, was the message that was conveyed and it is sheer providence that no new cases of COVID-19 came from that day. A sure indication that the pandemic is yet to progress to the level of community transmission in the State.
This however should not mean that one can take things easy. With the State Government also easing the lockdown on certain key sectors, it is all the more reason for the people to be more careful, more wary and adhere more strictly to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation and medical experts. Just how strictly is physical or social distancing maintained will be known in the next few days. Don’t make a mad rush for the shops opened in the leiraks and leikais. Maintain distance, stand in a queue, and yes always wear a face mask while venturing outside. For those who are in possession of four wheelers, always make sure that there is only one passenger and he or she is made to sit on the rear seat. These are some fundamentals that come to mind and these are regulations that can be easily followed. With the Government easing the restrictions, the responsibility on the people is immense and this is where all need to demonstrate that they have the discipline and civic sense to shoulder responsibilities. The reality of the situation is plain. So while the Government has relaxed the lockdown in certain segments the number of positive cases continue to grow accompanied by the increasing number of deaths all over India. The relaxation should not be taken to mean that India has found a way to treat the disease but is an exercise to let the people also earn their living. This should not be misunderstood as the green signal to go back to the earlier days. Keep in mind that it will take months, even years for a vaccine to be found and until then it is incumbent on everyone to adhere to the guidelines laid down by WHO and medical experts.