Manipur on the map of COVID death
Disturbingly real now !
Not at all unexpected, but then again when it did come, it managed to send Manipur into a pall of gloom and a sort of a panic. After the first COVID-19 positive case was detected back on March 24, making her the first in the North East to test positive for the virus, Manipur today has her first COVID-19 related death. That the death came even as Manipur is into her second spell of lockdown, this time more stringent than the first spell, many must have felt the need not to needlessly venture outside their homes. A point which has been repeatedly stressed by the Government and greeted with whenever one dials a number to connect with someone on the mobile phone. As is the case elsewhere, the 56 year old deceased suffered from multiple other diseases and the cause of his death was given as infection of kidney and lower respiratory tract, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and being detected as being positive for coronavirus on June 26. The virus is here with 2315 positive cases, as on July 28, and while the recovery rate stands at a healthy 69.7 percent, the focus of the Government should be on how to curb or control the spread at Thoubal and Jiribam and study what steps need to be taken up to avert new infection at hospitals, particularly RIMS which already has reported 18 cases including doctors and JNIMS. This is where serious thoughts ought to be given to the proposal to have a dedicated hospital for those infected by the virus and let other health centres deal with patients who are in need of medical care for other ailments.
The situation is disturbing. Over 2000 infected in a land with a population of around 30 lakhs and surely the Government will need to look for ways to ensure that no figures are added to the list of deaths. It is still not very clear how serious those infected are at the hospital, but no chances can be taken. Adding more to the worries and apprehension is the wide local transmission, which has taken a step beyond cluster spread. This is what is exactly happening at Thoubal and what happened at Jiribam. A similar case seems to be unfolding at Chura-chandpur. A dedicated COVID hospital, add more teeth to the exercise of contact tracing, make the tagging of an area or a place as containment zones more meaningful and regulate the incoming passengers. For starters the Government may seriously study the option of limiting the number of flights in a week to Imphal. Allow flights to land on only three or four days in a week. Restrict the entry via train and by road. Regulate their entry. Such an exercise will go a long way in giving breathing space to the quarantine centres and the health workers. Tough decisions need not be seen only through heavy penalties imposed on lockdown violators but also strictly regulating the arrivals of incoming passengers. And it also stands that tough penalties are needed to be slapped on those who suddenly don the roles of leikai and leirak heroes and heroines who do not think twice about putting up barricades on the roads to ostensibly to discourage people from moving around.