Lockdown extended to May 31 in many States, including Manipur and the Nationwide lockdown too has followed suit. Not surprising given that the number of COVID-19 positive cases is increasing with each passing day, India having overtaken China’s tally with over 90 thousand positive cases. Manipur too has not remained insulated and today has five active cases with another two having recovered earlier. And if reports coming from New Delhi is anything to go by then Manipur may well see more positive cases as some nurses there who had close contacts with a peer from Manipur, who had earlier tested positive, have started moving towards the State. In such a situation, it is not surprising to see the lockdown extended till May 31 here and perhaps this is the perfect time to dwell on some points which should call for the attention of all. Thousands have already starting coming back from different States including nearly 200 nurses who were working at Kolkata. The others who have returned and are lined up to return would surely include the hundreds and hundreds of young boys and girls who worked as sales boys and sales girls, those who worked as beauticians, security guards, waiters at different restaurants and hotels, in the beauty spas, etc. Their coming back is understandable for many of them would have lost their jobs, may not have been paid for days and obviously the landlord may have been after them to pay the monthly rent. This is besides their daily needs. This is where one would need to acknowledge the fact that hundreds and hundreds of young boys and girls from Manipur are out there in the metros and other cities of the country earning their own money so that they do not burden their family.
This is a fact that should not be brushed aside and given the reality here, it is not likely that they would be able to find jobs here in Manipur. It will obviously take time for this ugly reality to sink in for the priority at the moment would be on how to battle the virus which has created havoc with the lives of everyone across the world. More people are expected to return and already questions are being raised on how the many quarantine centres are being managed. Some have even gone to the extent of questioning whether those who arrive later, say on May 15 will be made to stay with those who arrived earlier, say on May 12 ? If the answer is yes, then something needs to be done fast for that would expose those already at the centre to those who have just arrived, rendering the whole exercise of keeping them in the quarantine centre meaningless. No one is asking for 5 Star treatment, but at least it needs to be made sure that the inmates are given food on time and all necessary measures are taken up and put in place. Else the very purpose of keeping them in quarantine centres will stand defeated. This is a critical period for Manipur and in as much as the people may be ordered to stay indoors, to break the chain of transmission and flatten the curve, the different State Governments too would need to study what needs to be done to complement what the citizens have been asked to do. Let’s not forget the case of the young man who tested positive here after being in contact with his late mom who passed away due to the virus at Mumbai on May 5.