The number is galloping. In six days the total number of infected has risen by one lakh to go from a total of four lakhs to five lakhs all over the country as on June 27. Manipur too has contributed its share to the total number with the tally here having crossed the four figure mark and standing at 1168 as on June 27. Fortunately Manipur is amongst four States in the country where there has been no death related to COVID-19 infection, but if care is not taken, this status may not continue. On the brighter side, there is the report that over 45,000 samples, all drawn from those who have returned to Manipur from different parts of the country, have been tested and now one has to wait for just a day or two to know the status of the test results. Adding more to the brighter side of the story is the report that the testing capacity of the two laboratories set up at JNIMS and RIMS has increased to 2000-2500 samples per day and this should definitely go down as one of the better news in the fight against the global pandemic which has infected more than 1000 persons in Manipur. This is about the brighter side but at the other side is the disturbing information that a person with no known travel history has tested positive at Thoubal with the infection being traced to a quarantine centre where he was engaged as a caterer. At the moment it is still not clear for how long he has been infected and with how many people he came into close contact with. Work is on to identify the people he is believed to have come into contact with, but the disturbing part is there could be others who came into contact with him, without him knowing it. This is the scary part and how fast the tracing process is worked out will go a long way in checking further spread of the virus.
The number of infected is increasing and it will increase as more and more natives return from other parts of the country and this is a situation which all have to face. One simply cannot sit back and watch natives of Manipur battle the infection far away from home alone and this is the reality. Yet at the same time it also stands true that the virus or the infection has come from people who have just returned and this where the call to regulate the return of the natives has been voiced here more than once. Regulate the number of trains that should come in a week. Regulate the number of flights that arrive here and maybe see to it that only three or four flights a week are allowed to land at Tulihal airport. That the Government has decided to restrict the number of flights in a day to five whittling it down from the 10-11 flights per day may need a relook. Focus of the Government should also now turn to the numerous quarantine centres that have sprung up all over the State and the report of a person getting infected at Thoubal who worked as a caterer at one quarantine centre should wake up the senses of everyone. It is against the increasing number of infection and returnees that the State Consultative Committee on COVID-19 held a meeting on Saturday to discuss whether the lockdown should be extended or not. This point is important in the face of the fact that the same has been extended in other States such as West Bengal, Mizoram and Gauhati (lockdown in the city till July 12). It is besides the point that the Saturday meeting could not come to a definite decision but there was a volte face on Sunday and the lockdown has been extended till July 15 and inter-district passenger buses can resume service strictly under spelt out SOPs.