Raising community spread concern
Rising cases of infection
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union Health Ministry have a different take on the matter but to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), community spread is here in India. To stress this, it has pointed to the huge spike in the number of positive cases in the last few days. Everyday the cases are increasing by more than 30 thousand, is the point raised by the Chairman of the IMA, Dr VK Mongia and the figures say it all. On July 19, the country recorded 38,902 new cases of COVID-19 pushing the country’s total tally to over 10 lakhs and taking India just behind the United States and Brazil. The rapid and steep spread of the virus is more than indicative of community spread, is the stand of the IMA Chairman and in much the same line, Chief Minister of Kerala P Vijayan had earlier sounded the same concern, picking two hamlets in the coastal area of Thiruvananthapuram district as examples. It was for this reason the coastal area has been declared a Critical Containment Zone, one notch higher than the normally used term, Containment Zone. The Union Health Ministry and the ICMR may have a different understanding for so far they have not gone to the extent of terming the rapid spread as community transmission but the stand of the IMA and the concern voiced by the Chief Minister of Kerala should be reason enough for all to be more cautious. Here in Manipur too, the number of positive cases has been climbing steeply. From just a single case on March 24, today (As on July 19) Manipur has 1911 positive cases. In just three months the number has ballooned from one to nearly 2000 and this is not at all a comforting thought.
No community transmission yet, is also the stand adopted so far by the Health Directorate here but wonder how comforting this stand would be to the people. Jiribam and Thoubal districts have shown that there is indeed local transmission and working out the trail of the infection route would have surely stretched the Health Directorate. At the same time, it is also disconcerting to note that there has been so far no official explanation behind the negative, positive, then negative for some and positive for some, goof up in the test results of some inmates of different quarantine centres at Ukhrul some time back. This reeks of irresponsibility and raises a strong doubt on the reliability of the whole procedure of testing for COVID-19. The task ahead is huge. One should not forget why the country has started unlocking and along with the fight to keep the virus contained and stop it from spreading further, the Government should also focus on how to revive the economic activities of the people. It is at moments like this, when the Class X and Class XII examination results have just been announced that attention should be focused on the fate of private school teachers. The Government has already said that they should be given their pay for the lockdown period, but have the different school managements been taken along with this stand ? As pointed out many times in this column earlier, how about the fate of the small time businesses, such as the leikai tea stalls and auto-rickshaw drivers ?