COVID-19 central to it all : Countdown to May 31

COVID-19 is central to it all. While one is the growing number of positive cases in the State coupled with the increasing number of Manipuris returning to the State from other parts of the country, the other is the question of whether the country and hence Manipur will see the fifth edition of the lockdown or not. This is the obviously the reason why everyone is waiting with bated breath for May 31 wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the Nation again. Not yet clear whether the lockdown would be extended or not, but significant to note that despite the most strenuous lockdown in the world, stretching to over two months till date, the number of COVID-19 positive cases continue to climb in the country, having already crossed the 1.5 lakh figure some days back. The number of deaths too has seen a corresponding increase with over 4337 deaths. In Manipur too the number of COVID-19 positive cases is increasing with each passing day and even as this commentary is being penned down, the number of positive cases has already reached 58 with five being cured and discharged from hospital. Not surprising then to see that the attention of the people has been drawn to the increasing number of positive cases as well as on whether there will be another extension of the lockdown or not after May 31. At the same time questions have been raised on why the State Government has not been able to follow the directives of the Centre or whether the State has worked out its own set of which things to allow free movement and which things to be restricted. It is precisely because of this confusion that a PIL has been filed at the High Court of Manipur against the prohibition of activities which have otherwise been exempted from the purview of the lockdown.
The matter is best left to the Court to decide, the High Court of Manipur having already fixed June 2 for further hearing of the matter. The important question is, how would people respond to the situation if lockdown 5.0 is announced in the next two days ? More importantly will it be as effective as in the earlier four versions of the lockdown ? Only time will tell, but it would do good for all to remember why the lockdown was enforced in the first place and what are the best steps to avoid the virus or stay safe from coronavirus ? Physical or social distancing is one model that has been universally accepted as the best method to break the chain. Maintaining personal hygiene, washing one’s hand thoroughly with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser are some of the other ways propounded to keep oneself safe from the virus. It is to stop people from congregating, socialising and gathering in any social do and ensure physical or social distancing that the lockdown was enforced and restrictions placed on so many human activities. This is the reason why no green signal has been given to hotels and restaurants to open and in places where there are bars. All these restrictions have been imposed for the safety of the people and this truism must underline all observations on the lockdown. On the other hand, it would help a lot if the Government stops confusing the people with one order after the other that it leaves even the people out there to enforce the restrictions confounded.