Morphing from negative to positive
Fight the virus not the infected
It was an error, no doubt, and a gross blunder. More disturbing is the point that even after 24 hours of the gross oversight coming to light, it is still not yet clear where and how the mistake crept in. How did the results of 25 returnees first came as negative and then positive, all in the span of 24 hours ? No answer yet but such an error runs counter to the efforts taken up by the Government, both at New Delhi and Imphal, to flatten the curve and take the fight to the virus that causes COVID-19. One June 23 and 24 samples of 25 returnees, staying at different quarantine centres at Ukhrul district were collected and the results came out on June 26 and 27. This is where the twist emerged in all its ugliness. On June 26 test results of the 25 returnees came out as negative but within a span of 24 hours, another report came out stating that their samples had tested positive. So many questions here. Were the samples of the 25 returnees tested twice ? Is testing samples twice the norm or were the tests repeated because some flaws were detected in the first test, after the results had been announced ? Definitely this is not a comedy of error, for central to this is the highly contagious COVID-19 which has taken a heavy toll on human lives and thrown everything out of gear. Making things more disturbing is the report that many of the inmates had left their quarantine centres and gone back home, on completing their quarantine period, which is 28 days in the case of Ukhrul and Kamjong districts. Add to this another report that 12 out of the 25 persons from a particular village in Ukhrul district were yet to be evacuated and the picture is indeed grim and not at all pleasant.
June 28, 2020 was certainly an unfortunate date in the fight against COVID-19 and ran against the spirit of the numerous measures taken up by the State Government. So even as the State Government has bent backwards arranging the return of thousands of natives of Manipur stranded in different parts of the country, set up the needed quarantine centres, increased the testing capacity of the labs put up at JNIMS and RIMS, came the news of how a 21 year old girl, who had just recovered from COVID-19 and was undergoing her home quarantine, was found hung to death inside her room. This certainly shocked the sensibilities of everyone and this is precisely the reason why The Sangai Express carried the comment of Additional Director of Health and spokesperson of COVID-19 Common Control Room, Dr Shasheekumar Mangang that people who have recovered from COVID-19 do not spread the virus. The circumstances under which the young girl was found hung to death are yet to be verified, but this disturbing incident should remind the people that it absolutely makes no sense to stigmatise anyone found infected with the virus. This particular incident also reminds all of the way in which people responded when the first positive case was detected in a young girl on March 25. The fight against the virus will be a long drawn out engagement and here it is important to drill into the sense of everyone that it is the virus people should be fighting against and not the people infected with the virus.