Lockdown extended till August 31. Not surprising, for this is in line with the increasing number of positive cases and 16 COVID-19 related deaths in the past few days. Hard to say when the curve will be flattened, but remember Manipur was once in the green zone, after the first two COVID-19 positive persons recovered. Now this is like a distant dream with the number of positive cases increasing in double digit everyday. From cases detected amongst those who have returned from outside the State, it is now a case of local transmission exceeding cases detected from amongst the returnees in recent times and this is what should worry everyone. No community transmission is the official line maintained by the State Government so far, but significant to note that the State Technical Committee on COVID-19 has already recommended to the State Government to officially announce that community transmission is a reality in Manipur. Cannot say if this would help in the efforts taken up to check the spread of the virus, but already an extremely important statement has been delivered. It is also not yet clear how the State Government would respond to the recommendation of the State Technical Committee on COVID-19, but take note the term community transmission may be more a choice of language and expression than actually reflecting the reality at the ground level. It is against this reality that the lockdown has been extended till August 31 and perhaps this is the best option available before the Government, for the thumb rule of stopping the spread of the virus is all about maintaining social distancing, wearing a face mask when stepping out and to maintain personal hygiene especially frequent washing one’s hand with soap thoroughly.
The important question is whether the people in general really understand the real objective of the lockdown and what is expected from them. Take note, flattening the curve or stopping further spread of the virus needs the co-operation of everyone. Difficult to say whether the people in general have really realised this all important point. It is the mentality of the people that needs to be tackled seriously. Crowding fuel pumps just before a lockdown is announced is one such example that comes to mind. Don’t mingle is the key in the call to maintain social or physical distancing, but here again people do not hesitate from crowding petrol pumps anticipating another spell of lockdown. A glaring example that people have not really understood what a lockdown really means. Where do they intend to move around when there is a lockdown, is the question. Again jostling at shops whenever the lockdown is relaxed is another eye sore that greets anyone. Moreover how many actually wear the face mask the correct way ? This question is raised in the backdrop of the fact that it is not uncommon to see many moving around with the mask not covering their nose or pulled down leaving their mouth exposed. Observe the three point advisory given by the World Health Organisation and only then will the lockdown have any positive impact. This is a call to everyone.