Looking at cluster transmission
Disturbing turn of events. And it is more than the statistics which has been pegged at nearly 300 positive cases. Rewind to the earlier part of April and Manipur had just two cases of COVID-19 and fast forward to June or nearly two months and the people here are today staring at the disturbing figure of nearly 300 positive cases. But the matter of greater concern is much more than the statistics that has just been spelt out but on the likely outcome in the coming days. The concern of many in Manipur today is the report that 34 from a particular quarantine centre at Moirang have tested positive for the virus. Add another 11 who have also tested positive for the said virus, again from one particular quarantine centre at Churachandpur and Manipur is staring at the face of cluster transmission. Not likely that all the 34 people in one quarantine centre would have returned positive from Chennai, the city from which they returned, but much more than likely that all the inmates contracted the virus while in the quarantine centre. Same is the case with the 11 who tested positive from a particular quarantine centre at Churachandpur and this raises the uncomfortable question, ‘how safe are the quarantine centres ?’ Now that a total of 45 people have tested positive from two quarantine centres, does this rekindle the earlier debate of Home Quarantine versus Institutional Quarantine or Community Quarantine ? The Sangai Express had steadfastly batted for the idea of Institutional Quarantine over Home Quarantine on the ground that not all homes are suited for keeping anyone cut off or isolated. This argument rests on the fact that even today many brothers and many sisters continue to share the same room where physical distancing will not be practical. Plus all the family units share the same bathroom and toilet. However the fact that today Manipur is staring at cluster transmission within a quarantine centre has given rise to a totally new dimension to these two line of thoughts.
This uncomfortable development should obviously raise the question of how the many quarantine centres are being run and managed in the State. Moreover how responsible are the inmates while conducting themselves during their stay at a quarantine centre ? This question gains prominence in the face of the jamboree that was witnessed in a quarantine centre some days back and how some inmates reportedly deemed it fit to take a break to get away from the monotony of staying cooped inside a quarantine centre and steal some time to be with family members. Again there was the disturbing news of how the district administration of Tamenglong had to track down an inmate who slipped away from a quarantine centre and trace his contacts to quarantine them too ! All these obviously go against the SOPs issued by the Government for inmates and others to follow. It is also right to question what the understanding of keeping the incoming people from outside the State quarantined is to the Government. Does the job or responsibility of the Government end with just bringing the incoming people and packing them off to some quarantine centres to complete their days there ? Or does it entail something more. The voices of dissent that have come from inmates of some quarantine centres should serve as the wake up call to the Government too. Inmates and returnees should also understand that quarantine centres are not holiday resorts and the Government has bent backwards to accommodate them. This better sink into their consciousness.