Coronavirus free : A misnomer
What after May 3 ?
Two positive cases of coronavirus in Manipur and both now negative. Cure is a word best avoided here in the face of many more testing positive after they tested negative as in China and South Korea. On the brighter side, no new cases have come to light after the said two cases. Ideally this should be the line that Manipur should adopt, and not COVID-19 free, for no one can say anything on the asymptomatic cases in the face of the low rate of testing. Wonder how many people have actually been tested so far in Manipur and most or all of those tested are those who came into contact with the two persons who tested positive. This is the reality and there can be no two ways about it. It is also important to keep in mind that no State can be an island in the context of the said virus and as long as the infection rate is high in other parts of the country, it stands that Manipur will continue to be vulnerable. This is a point which should be kept in mind when the Nationwide lockdown is lifted on May 4. Will Manipur be back to its old self, where it is more or less like a free for all, with people rubbing shoulders everywhere reducing the call for social distancing or physical distancing to a footnote ? How about the restrictions placed on the highways ? Will it again be a free for all once the lockdown is lifted and will issuance of ILPS be restarted ? These are questions at the moment, but important at this point and the State Government should take note of these questions come May 4. Or will the National lockdown be lifted, as scheduled ? Early days yet, and one probably has to wait till April 27 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold a video conference with the Chief Ministers of the country.
Goa is another State where no fresh positive case has been reported after the seven persons who tested positive have been discharged from hospital. But much like Manipur it still has to be on guard to ensure that the virus does not make a comeback and perhaps this is where Goa and Manipur may study each other and the steps that may be taken up. True the geographical location and the demography between the two States are vastly different but taking tips from each other can surely help. So even as May 4 is approaching, it stands that infections continue to rise with the count on April 24 put the number of infected at 23,452 and the number of deaths at 723. Infection climbing and so is the death rate. Given this reality a rethink on lifting the lockdown may be in line and it is keeping in mind the increasing number of infections plus the fact that there is as yet no vaccine that the Government of Malaysia has extended the lockdown to May 12. The question is whether the present arrangement, wherein some relaxations have been given for key economic activities, will do. It is also significant that other issues which dominated the country before the pandemic hit India such as the much debated NRC seems to have taken the backseat. It will be interesting when these points return once the issues concerning the pandemic fade out.