23 active COVID-19 cases as of now : Focus on quarantine centres
23 active cases as of now. Mark the stress on the three words, as of now, for everything indicates that the number of COVID-19 positive people in Manipur will increase in direct proportion to the number of Manipuris who return from other parts of the country. And thousands have lined up to return home, some from places which are right up there at the top of COVID-19 infection graph, such as Tamil Nadu, Delhi and other places. This is where the focus of the Government should be. The first case in Manipur was reported back on March 24 and the second on April 2. Thankfully it stopped there, at least for more than 30 days, clearly indicating that there was no community transmission but this should not mean that this state will continue. With more and more people expected in the next couple of days, it is natural that the number of positive cases will increase and there is nothing much that can be done here. What however can be done and should be done is to take up all the necessary measures to ensure that there is no community transmission and the first step towards ensuring this is to negate all possibilities of cluster transmission. That is stop the spread of infection to family members and the extended circle. Extended circle may be understood as the group with which the infected may come into contact with, such as fellow travellers and those housed together at the quarantine centres. This is where it is important to ensure that all precautionary measures are taken up at all the quarantine centres and obviously the Government should be ready to provide all the protective gears to the doctors, health workers and others who will have to visit the quarantine centres.
As long as the positive cases are confined to those who contracted the virus from outside Manipur, the situation should be manageable to the Government and the health workers. This is where due importance should be paid to the different quarantine centres which have been set up for the returnees from different parts of the country. And Manipur can surely expect to see more and more returnees from different parts of the country in the next couple of days. As notified by the Chief Secretary, other than the six trains which have arrived so far, trains are expected or may have arrived, even as this is being penned down from Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad. Another two trains are also expected to arrive by May 23. Trains carrying passengers from Delhi are also expected to arrive on May 23 and May 25 and at a conservative estimate more than 40 thousand people are expected to return from different parts of the country. This is besides those who are coming back by bus and those who have already returned by bus, which have been pegged at 5844 people. The crucial question is whether the quarantine centres which have been identified so far will have enough rooms to house all the returnees. This is where it also becomes important for the Government to focus on how the different quarantine centres are being run and managed at this moment, and sincerely study why some are reluctant to be quarantined at these institutional centres. Looking for home comfort cannot be the only reason.